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Cell service, Wi-Fi coming to subway next year: MTA

Are you nervous at the prospect of cellphone deprivation on your next subway trip? Relax: Cellphone friendly stations are coming.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the first such stations should be ready in about a year.

The MTA has just signed a 10-year contract with T-Mobile and AT&T to bring cellphone and Wi-Fi service in four Manhattan stations. Other telephone providers are expected to get access soon.

The first stations to provide cellphone service will be 14th Street-Sixth Avenue (F, L and M lines), 14th Street-Eighth Avenue (A, C, E and L), 23rd Street-Eighth Avenue (C and E) and 14th Street-7th Avenue(1, 2 and 3).

“For too long, the subway system has been an information black hole in our lives,” said MTA Chairman Jay Walder.

Chris Jaeger, chairman of Transit Wireless, which is undertaking the installation of cellphone access, said “this will give you basic service that customers are used to above ground.”

MTA officials said the first four stations should be equipped for cellphone users by late 2011 and all underground stations equipped for cell phones by 2016.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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