New York City is finally catching up with other cities in the United States, Europe and Asia by getting cell phone service in the subways. Starting on September 27th, six subway stations in the Chelsea neighborhood will have service, which will be available on the mezzanines and platforms. The signal will only be available for a short while once inside the tunnel. In this country, transit cell phone service has been available in San Francisco since 2006 and Boston since 2007.
This limited service will be available at various stops, including the C/E line platform at 23rd St. and 8th Avenue and on the A, C, E, and L platforms at 14th and 8th Avenue. Service will also be available on the F, M, and L line platforms at 6th Avenue and on the 1, 2, and 3 line platforms at 7th Avenue.
The only drawback is that cell phone service will only be available to AT&T and T-Mobile customers. Customers with Sprint and Verizon Wireless will be out of luck. The MTA hopes to extend cell phone service throughout the subway system in the future. There are mixed reactions on the new subway cell phone service. Some commuters are think that several people talking on a cellphone in the subway will be annoying while others welcome this move as a step into the 21st century.
Transit Wiring will be setting up the service and in the next five years they will wire the other 271 stations in the New York City Subway system. The project was originally started in 2007, but was halted due to financial issues. Transit Wireless has now received funding from Broadcast Australia and will spend about $200 million on this project. They will pay $40 million of that to the MTA for rent over the next ten years and in turn, wireless providers will pay Transit Wireless to extend their signals into the subway.
Peter Svensson, Cellphone Service Coming to 6 NYC Subway Stations, ABC News/Technology
Michael N. Grynbaum, Cellphone Service Coming to the Subway, New York Times