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Don’t Have a Cow, Man

By Mike Collado
July 14th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.41.10 PMWe’ve all experienced or heard about road rage. Is subway rage next?

Nearly five million people have seen the Facebook video of a young woman in the Hong Kong subway, wailing about her dead mobile phone and stomping her feet, while her fellow riders look on, unperturbed.

She has become a meme because we recognize ourselves in her.

(Related, an iPhone user on the London Overground – not Underground where there is no cellular service – was arrested for charging his phone.)

The average user picks up his or her phone more than 1,500 times a week, starting at 7:31 in the morning and ending at bedtime. Our dependence on mobile phones can spiral quickly into frustration when glitches strike, or we forget to recharge our phone’s battery.

Ironically, if her phone were charged, the young lady in the Hong Kong subway could enjoy fast wireless service while waiting on the platform and sitting in the car as it travels through tunnels thanks to a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) deployed by RFE, a BAI Group company in Hong Kong and a sister company to New York based Transit Wireless (Transit Wireless deploys SOLiD in the New York City Subway).

Here in the U.S., we are not so lucky. Only a handful of subways have extended their wireless equipment into their tunnels in order to provide wireless service throughout the system.

One of those subway systems is also the oldest: the Boston MBTA where InSite Wireless has deployed SOLiD to enable Sprint and other wireless operators.

Subways are one of the few public spaces in urban America where many users have to end their calls when they go underground. Sure, there may be WiFi, but most non-millenials primarily still use their phones to talk.

To achieve the vision of our connected world, it’s really a question about business models and manners. IOW, does it makes sense for the wireless stakeholders to invest to enable cellular throughout the platforms and tunnels? And are we ready for the chatter and heads glued to screens?

Either way, to avoid having a cow on a busy subway car and wind up in social media infamy, it’s probably best to make sure your smartphone is charged before setting out!

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