Now You Can Chirp on the Train

By STNG Wire
|  Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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Now You Can Chirp on the Train

Dan Sweeney

Cricket Wireless brought the "world's largest working cell phone" to Michigan Avenue in March.

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Another cell phone service provider has joined Verizon and U.S. Cellular is making their service usable on CTA subway trains.

Cricket wireless phone users are now able to chat away on the CTA's Red and Blue Line trains, even while they are underground, a release Monday from the CTA said.

The provider signed a 10-year agreement to lease the CTA’s wireless communications infrastructure in the subways. The CTA will receive $22,250 per month from Cricket for the lease, according to the CTA.

Cricket recently completed the installation and testing of its base equipment -- comprised of amplifiers, transmitters and receivers -- to the CTA wireless infrastructure.

In 2005, CTA completed the installation of technology to enhance CTA’s existing two-way radio system and improve subway communications options for the CTA, the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department in the Red and Blue line subways.

The improved telecommunications system also laid the groundwork for the agency to generate additional revenue by leasing its wireless infrastructure for commercial service to allow the use of wireless devices, such as cell phones, text messaging and wireless Internet modems throughout the 11.4 mile subway system.

U.S. Cellular became the first wireless provider to lease use of the infrastructure in July 2006, while Verizon Wireless signed on in August 2008.

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