New York commuters can now tweet, update their Facebook status, check email and call their boss to explain why they're late, as the NY subway gets mobile phone coverage.

A pilot scheme, provided by operators T-Mobile and AT&T, at six stations in Manhattan started this week and the plan is to have mobile phone coverage at all 277 stations of the century-old underground by 2016.

New York Subway Train
Mobile coverage comes to New York Subway

While commuters will be able to use their phones at underground stations, there will be no coverage in the tunnels, meaning that calls or data access will not be possible while the trains are in motion.

The pilot scheme includes six stations along 14th Street and along A/C/E lines at 23rd Street.

The New York underground carries more than four million commuters and tourists alike around the city every day.

Plans to introduce mobile phone coverage to the London underground were derailed earlier this year, when in April it was decided that providing a phone signal for Londoners on the Tube in time for the 2012 Olympics would be too expensive. Despite this, plans to expand Wi-Fi coverage on the Tube will continue.