Metro to get mobile signal

The first section will have service by the end of October

The Prague metro will be getting a mobile phone signal finally. The first section will have it by the end of October, and the whole system should be covered by 2022 at the latest.

The supervisory board of the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) approved a 20-year contract with the local mobile service operators. They will pay the city Kč 120 million without VAT.

“I'm glad that what has been promised to people of Prague for many years has finally become a reality, and an agreement to cover the metro with a mobile signal has been negotiated with a consortium of mobile operators. By the end of October, this year mobile signal will cover a section of line C from Museum to Roztyly, so there are 8 stations in total,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said on the City Hall website.

Municipal elections are scheduled for October, so the phone service will be a fresh accomplishment for the governing coalition.

Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), responsible for transportation, is pleased with the outcome.

"We have managed to conclude complicated negotiations with the operators, and finally we can fulfill the dream of the Prague citizens to have a signal in the metro. I consider the outcome of the negotiations to be a great success because a few years ago, operators demanded a lot of money to install a signal in the metro. Thanks to the negotiations, we have brought everything to the condition that passengers will be able to make calls and use data services on the metro, and Prague will also receive significant funding,” Dolínek said.

The reason that there will be a delay in launching the mobile coverage is because the metro will continue in normal service while the technology is installed.

“Operators will be able to install cables and other technologies for only three and a half hours at night, so as not to interfere with the metro operation. Therefore, the coverage of the whole network will require a longer period of time,” DPP supervisory board member and City Councilor Lukáš Kaucký said.

Not everyone is enthusiastic. Deputy Mayor Petr Kolínská (Greens), responsible for zoning and planning, does not like the final agreement.

“I support the introduction of a signal into the metro. I consider the signal in the metro to be in the public interest and a public service,” she said in a Facebook post.

“We did not support the agreement that requires the approval of the supervisory board because today an analysis of the most advantageous method of metro coverage by the mobile signal is not yet available.” she said, adding that one had been requested.

The also took issue with the price of the contract, as previously the amount of Kč 260 was proposed. “That difference in price was not properly justified,” she said.

There is also contradictory information as to whether the contract is for a concession or a service. “This has an impact on addressing important issues such as obtaining data on the number and movement of passengers using mobile carrier services,” she said.

Dolínek said the city will have access to the mobile usage data at least twice a year, according to media reports.

The entire metro should have been covered by a mobile signal in 2017, but this was delayed due to the lack of an agreement. A signal is currently available in metro stations but not in the tunnels.

The Prague metro began operation in 1974 and now has three lines with 61 stations. It currently has a transit network 65.2 kilometers long.

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