Phased rollout getting underway for transit tunnel cell phone service

Publish Date

UW-Westlake segment starts first, to be followed by downtown, Beacon Hill in early 2017

Sound Transit has partnered with wireless infrastructure provider, Mobilitie, to design and install a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network that will allow transit riders to use their cell phones while traveling underground. The DAS network, which has been under construction since earlier this year, is beginning a phased rollout this week. By late September, the Mobilitie network will provide wireless cellphone coverage to the tunnel between University of Washington and Westlake in Downtown Seattle, followed later this fall to the tunnels in Downtown Seattle and to Beacon Hill in 2017.

All cell phone service providers in Seattle will have the opportunity to access the tunnel DAS network through license agreements with Mobilitie, which is funding and maintaining the network under an agreement with Sound Transit. Starting this week, T-Mobile customers will be the first to have cell access between University of Washington and Westlake. Verizon and AT&T customers are scheduled to have access next month, with Sprint coming soon.

Mobilitie also has the option to provide cell service in the 8.2 miles of new tunnels and two underground stations under construction as part of the Northgate light rail extension opening in 2021.

The underground coverage will not only enable riders to enjoy more productive commutes but make it easier for Sound Transit to communicate with riders and will improve safety and security underground.

Mobilitie, which is one the largest privately held telecommunications infrastructure companies in the United States, partners with cities and municipalities across the country to deploy indoor and outdoor neutral host DAS network, next generation small cell sites, and other infrastructure that provides local residents with enhanced mobile connectivity and wireless broadband access. Its high-density wireless infrastructure is designed to enable rich, interactive mobile experiences, including real-time video streaming, 5G, and other mobile applications.