AT&T announced on Wednesday its plans to expand its coverage inside New York City subway stations. The carrier said, though a new partnership with Transit Wireless, it will connect up to 242 new subway stations, providing both voice and data services underground. AT&T currently provides service in 36 total stations around New York City as part of phase one of its project.

Phase 2 will expand the offering to 40 new stations, including 11 in mid-town Manhattan and every underground subway station in Queens. The midtown Manhattan roll-out also includes popular commuter and tourist stations such as Grand Central Terminal, the Bryant Park station and 34th Street Herald Square. Those should all be active by this summer, AT&T said. The carrier didn't say when it expects the full 242 subway stations to have active connections.

The expansion is more than just about providing convenience for customers, however. It also has a safety aspect. "The ability to make and receive phone calls underground is an important improvement for safety and security as well as convenience, and our customers will certainly appreciate it," MTA chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said.

As a frequent commuter into New York, I really appreciate the expansion. I'm amazed at the service that's offered underground in cities like Barcelona, and have often been curious why we haven 't caught up. This is certainly a start — providing service in the stations — but I hope the connectivity soon spreads throughout the whole system, including in the subway tubes.