Anything Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T can do, Verizon Wireless thinks it can do better. The other carriers may have beaten Verizon to the New York City subway wireless-service punch, but the leading carrier is edging back in a deal with Transit Wireless.
Transit Wireless and Verizon inked a deal to bring the carrier's 3G and 4G LTE wireless voice and data service to Transit's wireless network in the New York City subway system. Verizon will begin to install its equipment in Transit's secure Base Station Hotel facilities over the next several weeks and customers can expect to start receiving service in the 36 stations already online in midtown Manhattan and Chelsea later this year.
"Verizon Wireless is always exploring opportunities to expand our network coverage for our customers no matter where they are -- above ground or below," said Patrick Devlin, regional president for Verizon Wireless.
Covering Dead Spots
Verizon will next participate in Phase 2 of the project, which spans 40 new stations, including Grand Central Station, 34th St. Herald Square, Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan and stations throughout the borough of Queens. Phase 2 is expected to be completed in early 2014.
"We have now secured partnerships with all four major wireless carriers to bring the vast majority of New Yorkers, visitors, government agency personnel, transit employees, contractors and first responders the ability to be connected in the stations we've constructed -- a real milestone," said William Bayne Jr., CEO of Transit Wireless.
We asked Jeff Kagan, an independent wireless analyst, for his take on the deal. He told us this is welcome news to Verizon Wireless customers who have always complained about dropped calls.
"Wireless phones have moved from a convenience to the way we are always connected to the world. In that world, no service in subways will not work," he said. "In fact there are other places that are dead spots as well and they are all being addressed, one by one. Connectivity inside buildings is often terrible. That's why carriers have tiny cell and femtocells to deliver wireless to the dead spots."
New Droid Lineup
In other Verizon news, the company just rolled out a new family of exclusive Droid smartphones: the Droid Mini, Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx from Motorola.
In contrast to Samsung's 6.5-inch Galaxy Mega, the Droid Mini offers a compact design with a 4.3-inch HD display. The Droid Ultra is a thin smartphone, measuring just 7.18mm with a 5-inch HD display. And the Droid Maxx features a 3500mAh battery that offers nearly two days of battery life.
The Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx will be available for purchase starting Aug. 20 and the Droid Mini will be available Aug. 29. The Droid Mini will be $99.99, the Droid Ultra will be $199.99 and the Droid Maxx will be $299.99, all with a new two-year customer agreement.