Well, the much anticipated (or feared) cell service on subways is here, at least on certain subway platforms around New York City and, some are reporting, even in the friggin’ tunnel. As of today, the cell pilot is live at the A, C, E at Eighth Avenue and 14th Street; the L at Eighth Avenue and 14th Street; the C, E at Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street; the 1, 2, 3 at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street; the F, M at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street; and the L at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street. Along with wondering how much this will or will not ruin our lives, we found ourselves thinking, What do our friendly local customer service folks at AT&T and T-Mobile (which offer the service underground) and Verizon and Sprint (which currently do not; they’re still in talks with the MTA) think about all this? Are they being deluged with customer requests, accolades, or complaints? We took to the phone to find out!
From the Verizon store in SoHo:
RS: Hey, I’m a writer with the Village Voice. I’m sure you’ve heard there’s cell service on subways now, but it’s only AT&T and T-Mobile. Has anyone complained that Verizon isn’t on the trains yet?
Verizon: No. No one has said anything.
RS: Do you know if…
Verizon: [Hangs up]
From the Flatiron Sprint store:
[All of our representatives are still busy helping customers.]
Sprint: Hi, Sprint Flatiron.
RS: Hi, I’m a writer for the Voice; I’m calling about cell service on subways. Do you have anyone calling and asking when Sprint will be available?
Sprint: Um. No.
RS: No customers are asking about it?
Sprint: Hold on a second.
[On hold several minutes. There is no on-hold music. Eventually, we hang up.]
From AT&T’s Times Square store:
RS: Hi! I’m calling from the Village Voice. Are customers asking you about cell service on subways yet? Are they excited AT&T works underground?
AT&T: I haven’t heard anything about that. I saw it on the news yesterday.
RS: Do you have an AT&T phone?
AT&T: Yeah, I do. I haven’t tried to use it it yet; I thought it was only in Chelsea.
RS: What train do you take?
AT&T: The F.
RS: It’s on the F platform at 14th Street.
AT&T: I’ll try it!
RS: How do you feel in general about people using cell phones on subways?
AT&T: It depends. If the obnoxious people know about it, I’m not gonna like it. Those are the people who talk loud in restaurants and don’t care…but I think it’s actually a good idea. If something goes down in the train, you could use your phone to call 911, and yeah, there are pay phones, but do you really want to put your face on that? You could come away with mono or hepatitis!
From T-Mobile’s store at 6th Avenue and 14th Street:
RS: I’m calling from the Village Voice. I was wondering if you had any comment on cell service in subways?
T-Mobile: We are very excited about it!
RS: How are your customers reacting?
T-Mobile: They are thrilled. They’re happy they can finally use their phones in the subway.
RS: Do you have a T-Mobile phone?
T-Mobile: Of course.
RS: You used it this morning?
RS: How was your service?
T-Mobile: Excellent! 4-G!
Times Square, Herald Square, and Columbus Circle are among the 30 stations slated to get service next. Verizon and Sprint people: the MTA is apparently in talks with your carriers so that you don’t miss out on all the terrible fun.