Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are teaming up to install a $32.5 million 4G LTE upgrade to Chicago Transit Authority’s subway system. This upgrade will allow Chicago commuters to continue to text, watch videos, and talk on their cell phones, all while they are underground. The carriers expect the upgrade project to be complete by the end of 2015.
T-Mobile is heading the project by constructing a distributed antenna system (DAS) throughout all 22 miles of Chicago’s subway tunnels. T-Mobile will install individual transmitters throughout the tunnels, which will then connect back to a central location called a base station hotel. This base station hotel will house the network gear of T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.
This isn’t the first time such a project has taken place in Chicago’s subway system. In 2004, Allgon Telecom built a 2G network, but the voice network didn’t completely work at the time and now has been rendered completely useless. If all goes according to plan, T-Mobile’s much-needed 4G LTE upgrade will reconnect Chicago’s subway system with the 21st century.