The whole of the Prague Metro system should have mobile phone coverage by the year 2022 after the supervisory board of the city’s transport authority this week approved a deal with a consortium of mobile operators. The first stage of the rollout should begin on part of the C (or red) line this year.
The first section of the Metro to get a mobile signal will be the C line between the city centre Muzeum station and Roztyly. Night-time installation will take place to ensure commuters will be able to enjoy a mobile signal by the end of October, officials said.
Talks between the city and the mobile companies had been ongoing for a number of years, with the chief sticking point the issue of who should cover the cost. The freshly agreed sum of CZK 120 million for 10 years was higher than previous offers from the operators.
The chairman of the supervisory board of the Prague Public Transit Company, Lukáš Kaucký of the Social Democrats, told reporters that the initial offer from the consortium had been only CZK 20 million so getting six times that amount was more than satisfactory.
Another issue was whether the transport company would receive information from the operators with regard to commuter movement based on mobile signal numbers.
Prague initially wanted online access to such data, for which the operators demanded high charges. Now it has been agreed that the city will have access to the information when necessary. The authorities say they plan to make use of such data at least twice a year.
Councillors from the Green Party and the Mayors and Independents group voted against the deal. They question whether the agreement is the best one the city could have reached.
Some 61 Metro stations have mobile signals. At new stations between Bořislavka and Motol on the A (green) line operators offer GSM, 3G and LTE coverage, including in tunnels.
The Prague Public Transit is also preparing a non-commercial Wi-Fi system for the city’s underground rail network. This would involve allowing the public to use part of an already existing network.