WIND Mobile has announced this morning it is the first wireless carrier to bring cell service to Toronto’s subway system, after it worked out a deal with BAI Canada, the company that won the contract from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in 2012 to implement cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The announcement was made this morning at a press conference with Toronto Mayor John Tory downtown, which sees WIND Mobile launch service for the lower loop of the subway system. Wi-Fi has been available at select stations prior to this morning’s cellular announcement.
Coverage will not be available in tunnels, although it is planned by BAI over the next few years.
Alek Krstajic, CEO of Wind Mobile said “Rogers Bell and Telus could have come on some time ago, but they chose not to. Full stop.” (via The Globe and Mail). He predicts the ‘Big 3’ will now consider signing onto BAI’s network now that WIND Mobile is bringing competition
Also, WIND Mobile has noted it has a one-year exclusive on offering cellular service within BAI Canada’s network. The company’s CEO says other networks can negotiate with them if they want to bring cell service too:
Wind CEO says other carriers can negotiate roaming with Wind if they want to offer customers cell service in subway during that exclusive
— Christine Dobby (@christinedobby) June 17, 2015
Rogers, TELUS and Bell have long resisted the decision to launch cellular service within BAI Canada’s network, a move that echoes what happened in Montreal’s STM, when the Big 3 held out from joining Chicago-based Extenet’s network, causing the latter to give up the network. Soon thereafter, incumbents along with Videotron launched their deal to bring cellular connectivity to the STM network, sharing the deployment cost of $50 million.