The MTA is looking for cell phone providers to bid on developing a cell phone system in the subways. The NY Times has an extensive article about the RFP; Gothamist's favorite part is "The authority wants a company or a consortium to design, build, operate and maintain the system - at no cost to the authority." Of course the MTA doesn't want to have to deal with building it - the agency has enough problems with the trains! There's also some great detail on other cell phone-uage-in-subways, like how the winning provider would have to allow other companies to use the network (the DC Metro has Verizon, which means Sprint users roam and Cingular and T-Mobile are locked out), as well as the pros and cons of the MTA asking a private company to develop the network. While the MTA might be missing out on potential money it could make by developing its own network, Gothamist has to say having an outside party do the job might be the only way the project gets off the ground.
The possibility of using cell phones underground leads to many questions: Will cell phone kiosks start popping up underground? Will illegal vendors peddling their wares now include ones selling cell phone tchotchkes? Will the kids "selling" M&Ms for their school basketball teams be unwitting victims of straphangers yapping on the cell phones? Will there be even more cell phone thefts? And yes, our ears, our ears! We'll be subjected to those travelogues we hear on surface trains and as soon planes land, "Yeah, I just landed...wanted to see what was up... yeah, the flight was okay..."
What do you think of this plan? The MTA passed on cell phone service last fall.