On Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Board approved a contract allowing New Cingular Wireless (AT&T) to lease the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) wireless communications infrastructure in the Red and Blue line subways for a period of 10 years. CTA's estimated minimum revenue is $3.1 million over the life of the contract.
Installation and testing of AT&T's base equipment - comprised of amplifiers, transmitters and receivers - within the subway will take place over the next several months. Following installation, service is expected to begin later this year.
In 2005, CTA completed the installation of technology to enhance its existing two-way radio system and improve subway communications options.
Currently, customers with wireless services through Cricket Communications, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular are able to use cell phones and mobile devices in CTA subways.
The improved telecommunications system also laid the groundwork for the agency to generate additional revenue by leasing its wireless infrastructure for commercial service to allow the use of wireless devices, such as cell phones, text messaging and wireless Internet modems throughout the 11.4 mile subway system.
CTA continues to work to add additional service providers to the system.