NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Cell phone and Wi-Fi service is headed to more subway stations in New York City.
Six stations are already wired for service and 30 more stations will come online in groups of five, including Times Square, Herald Square and Columbus Circle, by this summer.
“I think it’s excellent, especially when you’re down here. You’re cut off, you have nothing,” Cindy Aspden of London told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider.
Among those stations already wired for service is the 23rd Street Station at Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
Zeynep Memcan said it’s helped to keep her connected to her family in Turkey. She said she turns the long wait for the “C” train into a chance to chat.
“I usually wait for the subway for 10 minutes, so I pull out my phone and make phone calls,” she said. “It’s pretty fast. You don’t even notice that you’re in the subway station.”
AT&T and T-Mobile signed 10-year contracts to provide cell and Wi-Fi service through a network being built by Transit Wireless. So at this point, only customers with those two mobile carriers will actually get service in these stations, but Wireless said it is working to contract with other carriers.
Some people think it’s a waste of $200 million, even though Transit Wireless — and not the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — is footing the bill.
“I think people use their cell phones too much as it is,” said Rich Barga of Chelsea.
The expanded service is coming at a time when the MTA is reporting growing cell phone theft. The transit agency is warning people to keep their phones and electronics out of sight.
“It could be disruptive to people who are doing stuff on their way to meetings or on the train reading. It’s a little quiet time for people when they’re going home,” said John Ciavolino of Astoria.
The MTA will cash in, too, getting a portion of the proceeds from contracts with wireless carriers projected to amount to $3.3 million.
All underground stations are expected to be wired by 2016, but trains are not expected to have service between stations.
WATCH: CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider reports
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