Cellphone service coming to TTC subway platforms by 2014

Ian Hardy

October 22, 2012 7:51 pm


Toronto commuters have been frustrated for years for the lack of cell service on subways. This service has been promised for a long time and it looks like the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) will be making an official announcement on Wednesday.

The RFP was originally between 3 organizations, Bell Mobility, Chicago-based Extenet Systems, and Broadcast Australia Pty Ltd. (BA). According to a proposal on the TTC’s website it looks like they are putting for the approval to partner up with BA:

“Authorize the award of a contract to Broadcast Australia Pty Ltd. (BA), for the Wireless Network in the Subway System project, for a fixed fee payable to the TTC in the amount of Twenty Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000.00) over a twenty (20) year term. In addition, BA will pay the TTC an additional $8,000.00 (plus applicable taxes) for design review cost, per TTC existing and planned sixty one (61) underground subway stations.”

In addition to this news there’ll be a new TTC position created called “Project Manager, Wireless Communications” who’s sole responsibility will be to oversee and manage the project. As for the completion dates, sometime in 2014, but riders will only be able to use their device (talk/text/data) on subway platform, not inside the trains. In the meantime BA, if approved, will conduct beta testing at a couple subway stations.

Finally, the TTC submission indicates that BA will have to establish relationships with wireless carriers and provide at least 60% of Toronto wireless subscribers with service. So there possibly might be some heavy fees for some riders to access the service, or heavily subsidized by contracted carriers: “The successful proponent shall be deemed to have sufficient wireless carriers contracted if it has contracted with a wireless carrier or wireless carriers that have at least 60% of the wireless subscribers within the City of Toronto.”

Source: TTC
Via: TheStar

  • WOW!

    2014 :( the world ends in 2012 w.t.f..lol

  • Matt

    “I don’t want cell phone service because then I have to hear a bunch of people talk endlessly on their phones”

    • STY

      Absolutely agree, as do others.

      I suggest just allowing texts.

  • deltatux

    FINALLY!!! Toronto finally tries to catch up with the rest of the world!

  • Eric

    I wonder if service providers will charge an additional fee for this…

  • Alex

    I’m anti-cell service on platforms. Not having reception down there is not a problem people complain about, it’s not an issue. This is organizational effort focused on a non-issue when their are actual pressing issues to the TTC and riders.

    And this 60% bullshit spells doom for anyone who isn’t on Robellus. If only Robellus is going to be seeing service down there, I want them paying huge premiums to the TTC for the privilege.

    • Carlo

      Way to prove your ignorance Alex. The TTC will be raking in $1,250,000.00 per year for 20 years (plus $488,000 to review the plans) for doing nothing but allowing a company to install their antennas in the subway stations.

      How much more do you think they deserve? I’m pretty sure that most people will consider this a “huge premium” for doing nothing.

      As for your assertion that this is a non-issue, nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason people don’t complain is that as typical Canadian’s with don’t b?tch & moan about it, we just put up with the cr@p.

      It’s about time they allowed this to happen.

    • OgtheDim

      So it looks like they will have Bell, and probably Rogers and Telus and tell the minor guys to go home.

      Until a relative of somebody important on one of the minor players gets assaulted because there cell phone service isn’t allowed by the TTC…

  • monish

    Seems kind of useless to just have service only on the platform only and not on the subway line itself. Providing only 60% of subs with service seems ridiculous for a service that they(BA) are getting paid in full.

  • Dragonstar

    I see Bell mentioned but I still don’t see Rogers or Telus mentioned.

    • chall2k5

      those are the companies who bid on the contract, they will need to sign roaming agreements to allow subs to get service 60% would have to be at least 2 of the incumbents

  • Thomson

    Are these fees passed to the customers? $5 subway access fee? Also what stations will be the beta ones? Yorkdale and Davisville? (TTC riders joke, those are outdoor stations :)

  • Stan

    I hope it stays on the platform. It’s annoying enough on the bus. Most people don’t even know how to talk on the phone without shouting

  • Boycott Bell Rep

    thank god it wasn’t bell.

    we all know those mothertruckers would’ve had incredibly high/invisible fees all over your a*s.

  • faizo

    The roof above the train needs some maintenance… It would be smarter to make sure the infrastructure is safe before spending millions on cell phone reception…

    • chall2k5

      the TTC isnt spending anything! They are getting money

  • delumen

    Screw cellphone service, just make it WiFi that might actually be a great way to raise money for more subway, charge like $1 a month for WiFi access.

  • gurtej08

    The 25 million that the TTC will go a long way if used properly. The money could finally help solve the issue of getting the Steeles and Finch LRT lines. If anyone has travelled on these lines you know how bad these bus lines have gotten (they will get slightly better with the extension of the subway north into Vaughan). TTC needs the money.

  • vinci

    For montrealers who didn’t see it this week, wireless in Montreal’s Metro will be operational by 2016 and it will work inside the wagons and between the stations.

    • jack

      rofl 2016 hahhahah

  • come on

    phone service will only be accessible on the platforms and not on the trains.
    That’s not all that useful if we plan on spending more time on the train than on the platform waiting for the train.

    …but then again, TTC does get delayed every other hour so I guess that solves the problem of boredome while we wait for painful delays.

  • Eluder

    I would personally much prefer they allowed only text and data services on the subway route (both platform and train).
    We don’t need people babbling BS down in the tunnels, but texting and email is pretty unintrusive IMHO.

  • Stanislav

    Have you ever ridden the GO trains? It is so annoying to hear people shouting into their cells. In Asia, they have service in the tunnels but I never heard anyone actually talking on their phones. They are surfing the Net and texting.

  • happyboy

    Great here comes the loud mouth foreigners yelling on their phones like stupid dummies

  • JL

    Just have WiFi on the trains/ buses. Include it with the Metropass/ charge $5-$10 a month for it. Would be a good way for them to make some extra revenue.

    Obviously you’d want it to be free but this is the TTC. WiFi on trains and buses would go a long way.

  • pats

    tdot represent

  • beyond

    what’s so important you need to say that it can’t wait until you exit to the surface?

  • Its Me!

    I do not understand what the issue is with people talking on their phones on the subway or the subway platforms?
    Every major city in the world already has this. All these cities that do have this service that i have been in (a lot of them)… I have never seen anyone be a nuisance.
    That is the problem with Toronto… We want to be on par with the rest of the world, but we dont want to be bothered…
    Honestly, STFU…
    Bring this service to Toronto, please bring it on the platforms and the tunnels… We need it!
    If you do not want to hear me speak on the phone, then please walk to the next car… Since the new trains with gangways have come into effect on the YUS line…

  • mjolnir

    90s tech for subway(train) reception and still nowhere in sight in Toronto 2012. Pathetic.

  • TP

    and to people who say they don’t want to hear others talk..
    Come one, TTC is a public place. It’s not library, it’s not your car.
    People have rights to talk on phones.
    Now, if they are too loud, it’s people’s problem, not the technology.
    I’ve been to many other cities where subways have excellent cellphone signals, and believe me, they are not any louder than TTC. Most people just surf the web, send messages, and/or do their stuff with headphones/earbuds on their head/ears.
    If there are loud people, that only means Torontonians are that far behind.

  • sp

    with this news…i see the rise of people falling into the subway tracks increasing 300%

    just what we need, more people not knowing where they are going and looking down at their phones while walking blind and aimlessly forward!!

  • Bob J

    As long as they use the $25M to expand the TTC I’m good.

    • jack

      ya with the way they spend the money, you’re lucky if that 25M even became something useful. they’d probably spend it opening a tim hortons inside the station or something ridiculous.

  • jack

    2 years? lol god toronto/canada is such a joke, so behind in technology

  • some guy

    And yet the TTC fares will go up and up and up for the “service” they provide riders.

    There’s a reason I bought a car… 1.5 hours on TTC to get to work vs 20 minutes by car with traffic. Hmmmmm.