Perhaps my AT&T service experience is different from yours and for your sake I hope it is, but whenever I am near an area with a high density of people, my AT&T service completely bottoms out. Texts don’t go through, phone calls are impossible to connect, and I can’t post free-floating complaints about it on Twitter. I have the distinct misfortune of living very close to a huge arena that regularly hosts collegiate sporting events of a very popular team so, as you may expect, my service goes from so-so to terrible on every gameday.
Anyways, I picked up on the general cause-and-effect: lots of people concentrated into one area means that my AT&T service will become unusable. Popular sporting events accentuate this. Neat.
AT&T, it turns out, has made some moves recently that suggest they may actually be aware of negative correlation between sports fans and cellphone service quality. You see, the Super Bowl is next weekend on February 5 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and as many as 150,000 people may descend upon this mid-sized city to partake in this most commercialized bacchanal in the world. AT&T, it turns out, has made a “significant investment in permanent and temporary wireless network enhancements” in order to make sure that people subscribed to the wireless provider’s unsatisfying service will be able to use their phones for purposes other than as a pocket weight.
Residents of Indianapolis, despite the impending suffering that hosting the Super Bowl entails, seem okay with the fact that AT&T is upping the quality of their service.
“We appreciate that AT&T is making this substantial investment in Indianapolis, both for the big game and for AT&T’s many customers who live here,” said Scott Miller, president, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. “Technology is vital to the way we live and work every day, and investments like the one AT&T is making help our business community and local economy continue to thrive.”
AT&T’s made several improvements to the area’s wireless coverage in anticipation of the Super Bowl. First, they launched an AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Zone, the company’s seventh major-market hotzone, serving parts of downtown Indianapolis. The new hotzone will provide fast and reliable Wi-Fi near many popular locations along Capitol Avenue, Meridian and Pennsylvania Streets as well as East and West Georgia streets near the center of town, which consistently see high customer traffic and mobile data use.
AT&T has also launched an expanded Distributed Antenna System at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the game will be played, and has expanded its 4G LTE network to its DAS for media accommodations and has plans to enhance or install DAS systems in a number of other venues before the big game. Further preparations for the game include deploying nine Cells on Wheels (is that like Meals on Wheels for phones?) to support the stadium, the downtown area, practice facilities and other places where large crowds are expected to accommodate increased wireless network demands from high concentrations of smartphone users (it kind of is!).
“We’re excited to provide significant network improvements,” Brian Ducharme, Vice President and General Manager of AT&T Indiana and Michigan said. “They will enhance the network experience for our customers in Indianapolis before, during and after the game.”
So good job, Indianapolis. You win better cellular service from AT&T because you’ve invited the bloated beast known as the Super Bowl into your home. Now if only AT&T could extend the same courtesy to some of us lucky enough to avoid the slavering mobs that will invade your Super Bowl-hosting city. Hope it’s worth it to you.