The New York City Subway will soon finally get full mobile coverage in tunnels

(Image credit: Matt Swider)

Passengers on the New York Subway will be able to make calls and access the Internet on their smartphones as part of a $600 million project to bring mobile phone coverage to the entire network with ten years.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has signed a deal with Transit Wireless to connect all 418 miles of tunnels and 281 underground subway stations, claiming the project will result in more than $1 billion in benefit over the lifetime of the contract.

Wi-Fi is already available at subterranean and above-ground stations, but the L Train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan received full cellular coverage in 2020.

NYC Subway mobile coverage

“Bringing cell connectivity to the tunnels between stations and Wi-Fi to above-ground stations is a major step forward in enhancing transit riders’ experience,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.

Deployment will start immediately and activation will be incremental, meaning passengers can use the network as soon as each section is completed.

“And the deal MTA has landed will also help the MTA’s bottom line – a major concern as the pandemic winds down.”

“We are proud to expand our partnership with the MTA and provide NYC’s subway riders with world-class end-to-end internet, data, and cellular communications,” said Transit Wireless CEO Melinda White. “Expansion of the riders’ connectivity through the tunnels and across the above-ground stations shows MTA’s ongoing commitment to the rider experience.”

Transit Wireless’s majority shareholder is BAI Communications, the firm building a mobile network on the London Underground, accessible to customers of all four major UK mobile operators by 2024.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.