BAI Communications launches Toronto campaign for subway cellular service

TTC subway car

In a new campaign, BAI Communications is trying to inform Torontonians that cellular network is available in subways but “three out of four telcos won’t allow their customers to access the network.”

Commuters will start seeing posters and digital ads that are “designed to increase [awareness] and drive demand for access.”

BAI is urging Torontonians to “demand access to underground cellular service.”

Earlier this year the company’s CEO Ken Ranger said that there was very little work left to do regarding signal and network upgrades and that it was just waiting for the carriers to get on board.

Currently, only Shaw’s Freedom Mobile has agreed to a contract. The carrier began working to bring service to the subway in 2015. The network is built on infrastructure installed by Australian network operator BAI; it won a $25 million CAD bid to provide Wi-Fi and cellular service in the TTC. It is worth adding that the company has been “majority owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board since 2009.”

For now, Bell and Rogers have said they would rather like to install their own system and work off of what was done in Montreal.

The Big Three and Quebec’s Vidéotron partnered and built a network system that rolled out in Montreal’s STM.

In 2016, MobileSyrup took a tour of the TTC’s underground network. The network infrastructure BAI used is unique, considering it was built for dense traffic and an environment that is constantly moving. The challenge BAI has faced is bringing the carriers on board.

Ranger indicated that he was confident that the three carriers will work with them in a similar capacity to Shaw so that they can connect customers in the subway.

“BAI Communications has forged strong partnerships with some of the largest telecommunications companies around the globe. Transit agencies and telecommunications companies alike have been able to rely on us to deliver a reliable cellular network to commuters in some of the biggest underground transportation systems on the planet,” he added.

BAI said that all 75 TTC subways stations and platforms, all mezzanines and walkways, and all passageways and stairs are cellular and Wi-Fi-enabled.

The Wi-Fi was launched in late 2013 and “comes at no cost to the TTC or its customers.”