AT&T preps South Florida wireless network for Pro Bowl and Super Bowl

Football players and fans aren’t the only ones gearing up for the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl and Feb. 7 Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. AT&T is gearing up its South Florida network to help ensure those in town for the games have a winning wireless experience. AT&T announced today it is expanding capacity and coverage in and around Dolphin Stadium and other key areas in anticipation of increased voice and data traffic on its wireless network.

Network preparations for the big games include:
• Three mobile cell sites on wheels, or COW, in the stadium parking lot;
• A new distributed antenna system, or DAS, inside the stadium;
• Fourth additional layer of capacity added to AT&T cell site inside the stadium: 2G (GSM/Global System for Mobile Communications) voice and data capacity increased by 100 percent and high-speed 3G (UMTS/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) voice and data capacity increased by 280 percent;
• Capacity added to cell sites in the vicinity of the stadium;
• Capacity added to cell sites serving hotels and resorts in Fort Lauderdale and South Beach where Super Bowl activities will be hosted;
• A COW set up to serve Fort Lauderdale hotels where teams will be staying;
• Capacity added to cell sites surrounding the facilities where the teams will be practicing; and
• The addition of backhaul connectivity to cell sites surrounding the stadium to increase voice and data capacity between the sites and the routing switch.

“These are two of the biggest games of the year, and fans attending them want to be able to share the experience, as it’s happening, with those back home, whether its through a voice call, text message, e-mail or picture and video messaging,” said Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets for South Florida, in the press release. “Our network team has been working for months to deliver the best possible wireless experience for the games and their related activities.”

AT&T network personnel will be on site for the games to monitor the network. Traffic on the stadium cell sites will be balanced as needed during the games in order to maximize the ability for customers to make calls and use data services.

In addition to the network upgrades for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, AT&T substantially increased capacity on its 3G network throughout South Florida in 2009 with the addition of a third layer of capacity, or “third carrier” to several hundred cell sites from Key West to Vero Beach. AT&T also activated 20 new cell sites, added 3G technology to dozens of existing cell sites, upgraded its UMTS/3G switching center, added 7 new Radio Network Controllers to significantly increase capacity and added more than 2,500 backhaul connections in 2009.

From 2007 through third quarter 2009, AT&T invested more than $134 million in its wireless network in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties alone.

“We’ll continue to invest and innovate to strengthen our wireless network performance so that our customers can have the best experience with their AT&T devices,” said Marshall Criser, lll, AT&T president, Florida, in the press release. “Our network investments and upgrades have made it possible for us to continue to deliver the nation’s fastest 3G network and national voice call retainability scores that are near best-in-class.”

AT&T’s 3G network is now available in more than 350 U.S. cities, including all major metropolitan areas.

AT&T recently completed a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation’s fastest 3G network for even faster speeds. The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T’s network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with the best possible mobile broadband experience, both today and well into the future. Faster 3G speeds will become available as AT&T combines the new technology with our second initiative during 2010 and 2011 to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.

For more information about AT&T’s coverage in South Florida or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/. The online tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.

For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit www.att.com/networknews.

Source: AT&T Inc.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Scott Boettcher” for the BCS photo and “James W.” for the heads up.]

17 Comments

  1. Hey ATT

    There are other large events for which you do nothing…

    Mardi Gras in New Orleans being one of them, which will swell the population much more than whenever the Superbowl is played here.

    Put those COW’s on the road to cities where they are needed for major tourist events.

  2. You may want to “define” COW to ATT. Other wise they will assume they have enough COW’s located at the event. It may be an utter disaster if they mix up one COW for the other COW.

    So if you you are reading this ATT, please put some mobile cell sites in New Orleans so the COW’s can easly contact the BULL’s.

  3. Awesome.
    And I can tell you – the signal WAS good at the Rose Bowl with those in place.
    We run around there and normally (because it’s in a bowl of local hills/mountains) very weak.
    These helped a lot, and I’m glad they did it.
    Thanks for the credit on the piece.

    SB

  4. Have you heard of any other carrier needing to bolster its network? It should be fine as it is; you should be prepared to have one Superbowl per day in South Florida.

    I don’t hear anything about Verizon patching up the holes in its network for the Superbowl.

  5. @R2.
    Sorry pal, I had a Sprint and a T-Mo device and in the same place, the signals there were every bit as bad or non-existant as AT&T;was.
    Are you that clueless to think that every carrier can cover every square inch?
    Get over your AT&T;hate already…

  6. Yep, go to any college game. Before and right after, most cell phones have a hard time getting out.

    It’s called tower overload. Anytime you have an event that pulls 100,000 people together with most having cell phones in a small area, no cell company’s “regular” coverage will handle it.

    It’s also a problem after a major disaster event in a city. Cell towers get flooded with calls and overload quicker than landlines. But landlines will fill up eventually.

    There was a college in a notably rural area that on a regular basis at night would overload the phone lines. Try to call someone at the school, constant busy signal or the “All circuits are in use” recording.

    There is only so much bandwidth in the air.

  7. Apparently, ATT still hasn’t add significant capacity to the Florida Panhandle and Alabama Gulf Coast, an under served cellular region called the “Redneck Riviera.” It remains a technological backwater for iPhone users.

    ATT coverage here is marginal at best. However, if you ascend to the top floor of any beachfront, high-rise condo, stand on the front-door balconies and face the snowbirds to the north, you might get a decent signal. Move inside these bunker-like concrete condos, or to the southern balconies that face the sunbathers in the Gulf of Mexico, and your ATT cellular signal becomes unreliable. Sadly, the iPhone remains unusable for voice in many areas of the Gulf Coast.

  8. @R2

    “Have you heard of any other carrier needing to bolster its network? It should be fine as it is; you should be prepared to have one Superbowl per day in South Florida.

    I don’t hear anything about Verizon patching up the holes in its network for the Superbowl.”

    Don’t forget, Verizon turned down the iPhone. So they have a lot of sippers on their network. ATT has the iPhone and they are the HUMMER’S of the data world. You need to shore up for the typhoon of data requests and video they are so hungry for!

    Verizon has the runway models of data users. ATT has the Paul Bunyan’s of the world. Go figure who would need the extra food!

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