If you are an AT&T customer in the Hub and have been noticing your bars getting better while traveling underground on some of the MBTA’s trains, don’t get too excited yet, it is only temporary, however, it could mean better smartphone service in the near future.
According to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo, AT&T, which was recently named the best cell phone service provider in Boston, has been testing out wireless service on both the Green and Blue Lines to see if it wants to enter into an agreement with the company providing customers with phone connections while inside tunnels.
InSite Wireless, LLC, the company contracted by the MBTA to build and install the infrastructure for cell service to be used underground, outfitted the Green and Blue line tunnels back in January. Although it is ready to use, InSite still needs to make the infrastructure available to cell carriers, who must sign an agreement to join.
“If [the AT&T testing] goes well, they will enter into a license agreement with InSite Wireless,” Pesaturo told BostInno. He said the testing has not been going on for that long, but Boston riders sure have noticed the better coverage while on trains.
According to InSite Wireless’ website, the company’s technology, called “DAS,” provides “continuous service in stations and trains, allowing riders whose service providers connect to the antenna system to text, make phone calls, check e-mail and surf the Web.”
The MBTA has signed a 15-year contract with the company.
Those who use T-Mobile to chat, text and surf the Internet while on the T are already ahead of other MBTA customers. In March, the mobile carrier announced it completed work to allow train-goers to gab on the Green Line from Park Street to Kenmore Station. It also completed work so that users could chat while on the Blue Line from the State Street Station to New England Aquarium, the Boston Harbor to Maverick, and heading towards Logan Airport.
Both T-Mobile and AT&T offer services along the Orange Line.
The other major phone carrier, Verizon Wireless, offers service at just four Boston stations and the tunnels that connect them as of May. They have not yet announced plans to expand.