Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI) has entered a deal to buy the Canadian operations of BAI Communications, a move to bring its full 5G wireless services to Toronto’s subway system.
BAI Canada has held exclusive rights to build the wireless network for the Toronto Transit Commission since 2012.
Now Rogers plans to acquire the operations with the transaction expected to close in the next two weeks. That will kick off a plan to do extensive fiber network and radio equipment upgrades to modernize the TTC network, Rogers said.
The plans include access to 911 service for all riders, Rogers said. Currently, TTC users can call 911 only where the cellular network exists: on station platforms, concourses and about 25% of the tunnels. Rogers plans to fill those gaps.
That process will take about two years to complete given limited overnight construction windows.
“We know safety is top of mind for Torontonians,” said Ron McKenzie, Rogers’ chief technology and information officer. “The agreement to acquire BAI Canada is a significant first step in modernizing and expanding the existing network to deliver enhanced 5G wireless service to millions of transit riders throughout the entire subway system in Canada’s largest city.”
It’s the latest of Rogers’ moves to expand mobile connectivity for underground riders, including projects in Greater Vancouver and in Montreal.
Rogers is relatively fresh off of closing its deal to acquire Shaw Communications, Canada’s biggest telecom deal.