Sunday’s Biggest Night Sets Records on AT&T Network

February 06, 2017
By Scott Mair

Tailgates, watch parties, and sports-induced stress. It all came down to this—football’s Big Game. For fans everywhere, Houston did not disappoint.

For over a year, our network team dedicated thousands of hours to ensure the network was ready for every touchdown, turnover and celebratory moment from Sunday’s biggest night. AT&T made permanent and temporary enhancements to the stadium and 13 nearby locations, investing nearly $40 million in preparations.

Football has proved it’s America’s favorite sport—and if the data used on our network is any indication—it will continue to reign. Each year, fans light up the stands with glowing smartphones as they post, snap and share from the game. On Sunday, fans in Houston used more than 9.8 terabytes (TB) of data!

Fans ran up the data scoreboard at the Big Game, reaching record-setting numbers.

  • Total data usage from the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) serving the stadium and surrounding areas equaled more than 28 million super selfies.*
  • Traffic spiked more at the Big Game than other recent football games
    • Sunday night’s data traffic in Houston was about 88% greater than last year’s Big Game in Santa Clara
    • Even more, data traffic from the Big Game alone was up 148% compared to the average pro football game nationwide in 2016.**
    • At kickoff, more than 385 gigabytes of data crossed our network.
  • But even better? Mobile traffic from event-related activities taking place Saturday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Feb. 5 in the Houston Area, including fan fests, concerts, the game and more, totaled more than 59.9 terabytes. That’s equal to more than 171 million social media posts with photos.

Breaking records is something we’ve come to expect from football fans. Regular season data usage climbed 83% from 2015-2016 at pro football stadiums across the country. Usage grew 14% from the 2016 regular season to the playoffs on mobile networks at AT&T venues.*

Throughout the 2016 season, we upgraded our in-stadium Distributed Antenna System in Houston to provide our customers with 100% more LTE capacity. We also deployed 6 Super Cell on Wheels (COWs), which equal 13 traditional cell sites.  Four of these COWs are equipped with one of the highest capacity antennas on the market—the Luneburg Lens Antenna—better known as the “Giant Eyeball” antenna. This antenna provides 10 times more network capacity than a traditional cell site.

No matter your team, it’s easy to agree on one thing. Seamlessly sharing your experience with friends and family is important. AT&T will be there with its strong network to help fans can share every unforgettable moment.

Footnotes:

* All figures include only data traffic from AT&T customers on AT&T’s venue-specific mobile network.

**All data metrics come from only venues with a DAS where AT&T’s mobile network is on-air. These metrics are not comprehensive of every game played during this season for college or pro football

Scott Mair - Senior Vice President of Network Planning and Engineering

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