Wireless cellular service to be made available to all Toronto subway riders from October

(Reuters) - The Canadian government on Monday announced new licence conditions requiring mobile carriers to provide all of Toronto's subway riders with access to cellular connectivity by Oct. 3, in a move that would allow passengers to send emails or text messages during their commute.

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, also said all carriers operating in Toronto must expand their existing network coverage to provide full voice, text and data services throughout the subway system.

Failure to meet these conditions could result in carriers facing monetary penalties or suspension or revoking of their spectrum licence, Champagne added.

The lack of reliable cellular connectivity across the transit system has been a pain point for metro riders in Toronto, hampering access to emergency services when commuting via public transit, leaving passengers frustrated.

Currently, only some carriers, including Rogers Communications and Freedom Mobile, provide customers with wireless service in the subway system.

"Cellular connectivity on the subway is about more than just convenience. It is a critical public safety matter," Champagne said.

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)