Metro Begins Cell Phone Expansion Underground

Riders will have expanded mobile, Internet access by Oct. 16

Finally, more cell phone service is coming to underground Metro stations.

AT&T and T-Mobile are jumping on the wireless train, giving riders access to four major cell phone providers and the Internet from 20 of Metro's busiest underground stations.

Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile have already begun installing the hardware in "large, cabinet-like enclosures" at the end of station platforms or on mezzanines. The service will be operational starting Friday, Oct. 16 at these stops:

  • Ballston
  • Bethesda
  • Columbia Heights
  • Crystal City
  • Dupont Circle
  • Farragut North
  • Farragut West
  • Federal Center SW
  • Foggy Bottom-GWU
  • Friendship Heights
  • Gallery Pl-Chinatown
  • Judiciary Square
  • L’Enfant Plaza
  • McPherson Square
  • Metro Center
  • Pentagon
  • Pentagon City
  • Rosslyn
  • Smithsonian
  • Union Station

And, according to Metro, the rest of its 27 underground stations will get mobile and web access by October 2012.

The four carriers have signed a nearly $25 million, 15-year term contract, with an option to renew every two years for an additional $27 million, Metro said.

Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile will each build, operate, maintain and own the new wireless network that is being installed at the stations. They will also build a second wireless network, which Metro will own, operate and maintain for the transit agency's own safety and operational communications, Metro added.

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So forget those lingering glances you've been giving to your fellow cute riders. By October, almost half of Metro will have their heads to their phones or computers, chatting, texting or surfing it up on the train.

Not that we're complaining. Maybe they'll all be reading NBCWashington.com...

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