Sound Transit announced today that the long-awaited project to allow transit riders to use their cell phones while traveling underground is beginning a phased roll-out starting today.
The Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network that is being funded, installed, and maintained by Mobilite under an agreement with Sound Transit will provide cell service for all Link passengers starting with the new tunnels from the University of Washington through Capitol Hill to Westlake Station. The rest of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) will become operational later this fall, and the tunnels serving Beacon Hill Station will receive service in 2017.
This afternoon, T-Mobile customers traveling between UW and Westlake will be able to make phone calls and utilize their cellular data plans. Service for Verizon and AT&T customers will follow sometime in September. Unfortunately for those using Sprint, the wait will be a bit longer.
This is a cellular-only service, so cellular-data plans are required for those wishing to use their social media apps or to try and catch errant Pokémon hiding underground. Free Tunnel WiFi will continue to be made available on the DSTT platforms courtesy of King County Metro. There will be no additional charge to use this cellular service above and beyond one’s normal service plan.
Mobilite also has the option to extend the network to include the additional 8.2 miles of tunnel that is currently being built between UW and Northgate.
Happy surfing and trip planning!