How New Yorkers Used Free Subway Wi-Fi in 2013


Feb 20, 2014 8:00 am

Skift Take

The introduction of Wi-Fi and wireless service is great for locals and visitors alike…as long as it doesn’t lead to phone calls on trains in transit.

— Samantha Shankman

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momentcaptured1  / Flickr

A woman looks at her phone before entering a subway station in New York City. momentcaptured1 / Flickr

Almost every New Yorker and visitor that connected to Wi-Fi in a subway station last year was on smartphone: 2.5 million of 2.6 million Wi-Fi connections occurred on the mobile devices.

The most popular kind of smartphone? iPhones.

Almost three-quarters of all connections happened on the iPhone compared to 17 percent on Samsung Galaxy and 3 percent on each an iPod Touch, iPad, and Samsung Galaxy Note.

This, according to Transit Wireless, which powered Wi-Fi and wireless service in 36 of New York City’s underground subway stations in 2013.

The company announced today that it will install Wi-Fi in 11 stations in mid-town Manhattan, including Grand Central Terminal, 34th St. Herald Square and Bryant Park by June 2014.

The eventual goal is to have Wi-Fi service at all 277 underground NYC subway stations. New York City is already considered one of the best nine cities for connectivity.

Who and Where

Subway riders younger than 34 years old accounted for 62 percent of users. And more men (63 percent) than women (37 percent) connected to the service.

Not surprisingly, the most popular station for connections was Times Square. Not only does almost every subway line pass through station, but it’s also the most visited tourist spot in Manhattan.

That means tourists looking for directions or dinner suggestions can plug in while waiting for trains.


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