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Union Tpke

MTA is expanding cell phone service this week!

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UPDATED 4:49 PM

MTA Expanding Subway Cell Service This Week

 

 

 

 

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Like being able to make calls or send text messages underground? Well, like it or not, that capability is coming to dozens more subway platforms soon. Transit reporter Jose Martinez spoke to straphangers who see the good and the bad in being constantly connected.

 

There's no shaking free from mobile devices in a growing number of the city's subway stations.

Starting Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will introduce Wi-Fi and cell service in 30 more Manhattan stations, allowing straphangers to make calls, send emails and tap out text messages while underground.

"I miss a whole bunch of emails, a whole bunch of text messages, if I got a sick kid," said one straphanger. Yes, I miss stuff."

It's the next wave of a push to make subway stations more cellphone-friendly, after the company Transit Wireless contracted with the MTA to begin introducing wireless service to a few stations along 14th Street in 2011.

The MTA declined to identify which stations will be outfitted with Wi-Fi and cell service, though a source said they'll be on the West Side, from 42nd Street-Times Square to 96th Street.

It's easy enough to stay connected when you're at the 14th St. station on the Eighth Avenue line, one of a handful in the system where you can presently get service. The hope among transit officials is that the by end of 2015, all 277 underground stations will have Wi-Fi capacity.

Some straphangers, however, worry that moving around in crowded stations at rush hour won't be easy if some commuters are too busy texting or talking.

"I think it will just make people less attentive to what's around them," said one.

Others see the value in being able to place calls from platforms or station mezzanines.

"Say if somebody falls on the tracks, we don't have the service," said one straphanger. "We can't call the cops or call the ambulance in case something happens like that."

More convenience, more security or just more of an annoyance? Straphangers will begin finding out soon enough.

What do you guys think about it?

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Is this only for one of the carriers again, or will this be for every carrier?

So far its for GSM carriers only, those are T-Mobile and ATT. There are other prepaid carriers that use their towers, straight talk and simple mobile are among them.

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Is this only for one of the carriers again, or will this be for every carrier?

On a separate note, there has been debate on whether to force cellphone companies like Verizon and AT&T to split up: one for operating the cellphone towers, and another for carrying the data (which includes voice, text, video chat, etc.). This would eliminate duplicative efforts to provide good coverage. One tower would operate on all of the frequencies at once and fewer towers would have to be built while the resources go to building towers in places with no service.

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I've personally noticed antenna installations at 47-50 St (B)(D)(F)(M), 57st - 7av (N)(Q)(R), 59th St - Columbus Circle (1)(A)(B)(C)(D) and all the way up the 1 line to 96. Been wondering when all these would be lit up. 

 

Union, can you link to the original article you quoted?

Edited by itmaybeokay

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On a separate note, there has been debate on whether to force cellphone companies like Verizon and AT&T to split up: one for operating the cellphone towers, and another for carrying the data (which includes voice, text, video chat, etc.). This would eliminate duplicative efforts to provide good coverage. One tower would operate on all of the frequencies at once and fewer towers would have to be built while the resources go to building towers in places with no service.

That sounds like it would lead to a monopoly, no?

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That sounds like it would lead to a monopoly, no?

No. Radio frequencies would no longer belong to any one company and neither would cell towers. Here are some relevant articles:

 

http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/09/fcc-to-make-spectrum-sharing-reality-whether-carriers-want-it-or-not/

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/how-software-defined-radio-could-revolutionize-wireless/2/

 

The comments are also informative.

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I've personally noticed antenna installations at 47-50 St (B)(D)(F)(M), 57st - 7av (N)(Q)(R), 59th St - Columbus Circle (1)(A)(B)(C)(D) and all the way up the 1 line to 96. Been wondering when all these would be lit up.

Some of them are already up and running. HTC is currently sponsoring free Wi-Fi in the stations if you watch their 15-second clip. Other stations that have functioning service are Times Square, 49th Street (N)(Q)(R), 50th Street (C)(E), and 5th/53rd (E)(M).

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Guest Lance

Or you can always switch to T Mobile LOL.

Yeah... how about no.

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Found what's reportedly the full list of stations now served: 

 

 

  • 23 Street – 8 Avenue: CE Lines
  • 14 Street – 8 Avenue: ACE Lines
  • 14 Street – 7 Avenue: 123 Lines
  • 14 Street – 6 Avenue: FM Lines
  • 14 Street – 8 Avenue: L Line
  • 14 Street – 6 Avenue: L Line
  • 96 Street: BC Lines
  • 86 Street: BC  Lines
  • 28 Street: 1 Line
  • 18 Street: 1 Line
  • 81 Street-Museum of Natural History: BC Lines
  • 72 Street: BC Lines
  • 79 Street: 1 Line
  • 23 Street: 1 Line
  • 96 Street: 123 Lines
  • 66 Street-Lincoln Center: 1 Line
  • 72 Street: 123  Lines
  • 57 Street: F Line
  • 47-50 Streets-Rockefeller Center: BDFM Lines
  • 57 Street-7 Avenue: NQR Lines
  • 28 Street: NR Lines
  • 50 Street: 1 Line
  • 50 Street: CE Lines
  • 23 Street: NR Lines
  • 49 Street: NR Lines
  • 5 Avenue-53 Street: EM Lines
  • 59 Street-Columbus Circle: 1 Line
  • 59 St-Columbus Circle: ABCD Lines
  • 7 Avenue: BDE Lines
  • Times Square-42 Street: 123 Lines
  • Times Square-42 Street: NQR Lines
  • Times Square-42 Street: 7 Line
  • Times Square-42 Street: ACE Lines
  • Times Square-42 Street: S Line
  • 5 Ave.-59 Street: NR Lines
  • 86 Street: 1 Line

List presented as formatted in the article, and yes I agree the formatting is stupid. 

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On the one hand this is great, on the other: watch for an increase in smartphone thefts... This is just asking for trouble when this crime is the most common as of late.

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Money to outfitting stations for cell-phone communication could be better spent. Also cell-phones would glue people to their devices, opening up hazards, such as tripping and phone theft.

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Money to outfitting stations for cell-phone communication could be better spent. Also cell-phones would glue people to their devices, opening up hazards, such as tripping and phone theft.

TA doesn't foot the bill on this one, Transit Wireless pays for all the expenses.

As for glued-to-phones argument, they are already glued to them, even without the data/voice connectivity.

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According to Second Avenue Sagas, Verizon and Sprint have announced that they are introducing their LTE services in the subway as well.

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According to Second Avenue Sagas, Verizon and Sprint have announced that they are introducing their LTE services in the subway as well.

That's nice... about time Sprint (which I have) and Verizon get on board, I hope LTE services doesn't mean LTE data only and no calls/texts lol. Metro really should be running on the subway too, they seem to be getting very popular around town.

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Guest Lance

That's nice... about time Sprint (which I have) and Verizon get on board, I hope LTE services doesn't mean LTE data only and no calls/texts lol. Metro really should be running on the subway too, they seem to be getting very popular around town.

It's not going to matter in the short term as Metro PCS is merging with T-Mobile.

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It's not going to matter in the short term as Metro PCS is merging with T-Mobile.

This ^^

Metro will be using T-Mo's towers and be using GSM phones, so as long as the T-Mo towers work, Metro customers (like myself) will be able to take advantage when the merger is finished. And yes they are becoming popular, they really aren't bad at all.

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I have Sprint and was able to get cell phone service at 23rd/8th today, but not at 59th/5th (even though 59th/5th had signs up in the station saying that they had "wi fi" available).  Not sure why one station would work for cell phone calls but not the other.

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