T-Mobile, other carriers working to install 4G service on Chicago subway system


If you’re a mobile user in Chicago, the city’s subway system is about to become a much more attractive way to travel.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that his city has struck a deal with T-Mobile and the other three major U.S. carriers to finance a project that’ll modernize the Chicago Transit Authority’s subway system with an upgraded wireless network. The $32.5 million deal will see T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon help to upgrade the design and construction of a Distributed Antenna System that’ll support a 4G network.

The project actually began earlier in January and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Once its done, Chicago will be the largest North American city with a subway system that’s got full 4G coverage. The network will cover 22 miles from O’Hare airport, through the underground tunnels of the Red and Blue Lines.

“The current wireless technology in Chicago’s subway system dates back 10 years, predating most smartphones and many mobile devices,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. “On behalf of the four national wireless providers, we, along with the CTA, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, are thrilled to bring the millions of Chicago subway riders the benefits of an improved wireless experience and we are committed to a strong partnership and successful implementation.”

Source: City of Chicago

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    Can NYC get some love? who’s with me?

    • Brian Perez

      we already kinda have it but not all the way thru just in select stations which sucks

    • spike

      that would be a billion+ to get the whole NYC subway sys w/ 4G LTE!!!

    • djb

      Transit wireless is in charge of rolling out carrier neutral das for all carriers in NYC subway. Check Wikipedia

      I think they have a lot of major stations in Manhattan/queens/Brooklyn covered, whole system estimated in 2017(?)

  • taron19119

    Bring this to philadelphia Broad Street subway system

    • Samuel Bennie

      So funny AT & T has the whole subway…i remember SEPTA was so hype with those billboard Adds w/AT &T on it…lol……I rather keep my service and not be disturbed lol

  • Omar Boyer

    Bring this LOS ANGELES!! I take the gold line and red line to work sometimes when i dnt have my car And sucks not being able to txt or call underground so far no company here gets signal dwn there Verizon,att,sprint,tmobile NADA none work.

  • Joel

    Sounds really great. Actually it’s awesome. I herd talks of carriers partnering up with car manufacturers to some how add some type of technology or signal boosting devices on all new manufactured cars to some how bounce coverage using vehicles. Not sure if it’s going to happen but that would be very awesome as well. How ever the money to do that might be too much. I believe , if I remember correctly, I herd this through a science channels post. It could all be bs but u never know.

  • Rick

    That is fantastic! I live in Chicago and that will help me tremendously while commuting to and from work on CTA! Also, I always see a lot of tourists unsuccessfully trying to find service to get directions, this is good news for them too! Good job Chicago!

  • Guags

    Nice, but If only we could get 700mhz in Chicago!

  • 9to5Slavery

    Bring it to Vancouver! Bring it to San Fansisco! Bring it to St. Louis?

  • B_Eng

    About time! Although I’ve gotten pretty used to caching up content before going underground.

  • Elier Ruiz

    Can’t wait. :) no more dropped calls or internet connection when I’m on the train.

    • Allen Enriquez

      If i may ask?
      isn’t scary to know that their is no way to contact Chicago Police!? When I was last in Chicago far away from downtown there was 6 feet of snow I can’t imagine how it feel let along no way for even get a hold of a family/friend in case of an emergency!
      Now going back to getting a great connect soon I hope, what life changes would this be for your families, and friends?
      if it is a great difference, I’ll definitely tell my godmother the great news, then I feel much better knowing she is okay!
      P.S she has T-Mobile US

      • Elier Ruiz

        I remember that big snow storm. I had to stay at work overnight. My family too have T-Mobile US and not planning on switching anytime soon.

        • Allen Enriquez

          Oh ,my i thought that was a usual weather there and glad you okay thats really cool you staying with T-Mobile!
          P.s. stay safe!

  • Brian Perez

    I visited Chicago I’m from New York City Chicago’s network is not data strong only their 4G network is because as soon as I hit the Chicago downtown area my LTE no bueno how to go to a tmobile store he didn’t know what was going on so he just told me stay on the 4G network which is fine because it’s awesome just as reliable but at the end of the day Chicago is not data strong

    • Rick

      That is so bizarre, I always have LTE and I live and work downtown Chicago. Sorry your experience was less than excellent here, but I can testify, I always have amazing, strong, and reliable LTE service.

      • Brian Perez

        Im happy for you l..lol like the carriers says everyones experience can vary…and well im glad to be back home in nyc i like chicago but having great signal and being data strong are very different things….

    • B_Eng

      It can definitely be a spotty experience. Between the repurposing of the LTE towers and sheer number of people using the bandwidth during working hours, it can be trying. It’s better now, but was pretty bad about a year ago.

  • alex

    sounds good for riders in a big city train system for the airport to the city but having more people in the airport already, shouldn’t the mobile carriers and the city focus on 4g lte in the entire airport??