Wind Mobile has struck a deal to be the first wireless company to offer its customers cellular service even while they are underground on Toronto's TTC subway system.
Alek Krstajic, CEO of the Toronto-based wireless firm, announced the initiative alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory at St George subway station on Wednesday.
Service will roll out in phases. At launch, only the St. George, Bay and Bloor stations are equipped, but more will come soon after launch, with service at Spadina and every one of the so-called "downtown U" stations hooked up in time for the Pan Am Games. Service at some stations on the Bloor line including Sherbourne and Bathurst, will follow shortly thereafter.
Officials Tuesday said all stations are expected to have cellular service by 2017. The next phase of the plan will be to install infrastructure that allows continuous signal coverage in the tunnels between stations, something that isn't currently equipped.
"This is another step towards expanding our network and enhancing the Canadian wireless landscape," Krstajic said.
Wi-Fi network installed
Toronto has had a contract with BAI Canada to offer Wi-Fi and cellular service across the entire subway system for almost three years, but the rollout has been plagued by delays in part because of a reluctance from wireless companies to sign up.
Currently, several subway stations are equipped to offer Wi-Fi, but it's not available across the entire system — which has led to frustration from some riders when the signal cuts out. BAI says its Wi-Fi network now grants more than one million one-hour sessions per month while TTC customers use more than 15 terabytes of data on it.
"Wind Mobile subscribers will be the first to have access to cellular service at TTC stations, and we look forward to expanding service in the future to all TTC customers," Toronto Mayor John Tory said.