T-Mobile and AT&T subscribers will be able to get a cellphone signal in the subway sooner than expected. Yesterday the MTA announced a 10-year agreement with the companies to provide cell and WiFi service in several Manhattan subway stations by the end of 2011. "For too long, the subway system has been an information black hole in our lives, and bringing cell and Wi-Fi service to stations is one of the ways we are working to change that," said MTA chief Jay Walden tells the Post. Here are the subway stations that will get the first taste; for some reason they're all in Chelsea:

14th Street and Sixth Avenue on the F, M and L lines; 14th Street and Eighth Avenue on the A, C, E and L lines; 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue on the C and E lines; and 14th Street and Seventh Avenue on the 1, 2 and 3, lines will have cell phone service by the end of next year, if all goes according to plan. Chris Jaeger, CEO of Transit Wireless, the company overseeing the project, says the system will "give you the basic service that customers are used to above ground. The network is designed to be able to take all carriers. Our aim is to have all carriers involved."

Though Jaeger expects other service providers to join in, for now, only T-Moble and AT&T users will get a signal. The Post reports that the entire project to wire all 277 underground stations will cost Transit Wireless about $200 million, and that doesn't include the $46 million fee that it paid to the MTA for the rights to do it. As noted previously, cell phone service is expected to extend between stations where stops are relatively close to each other and tunnels are wide enough. But given the cell phone's role in setting off IEDs, one has to wonder if this is really prudent. Even more terrifying: the thought of rush hour trains packed with chattering, self-absorbed assholes.