Selfies Soar at the Big Game

Network /

Football fans used more than 50 TB of mobile data at game-related events between Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 4 in the Minneapolis area. That’s the equivalent of streaming all the halftime show songs on repeat for over 15,000 hours.

Minneapolis was the center of the pro football universe over the past week. New England and Philly fans were out in full force – using their mobile devices to share their experiences from the center of the action.

For more than a year, we’ve been working to get our network ready for the Big Game and all the tailgates, parties and concerts that come with it. We made permanent and temporary network enhancements to the stadium and 16 nearby locations, investing over $40 million.

On Sunday, fans lit up the stands with glowing smartphones as they posted, snapped and shared the most exciting moments from the Big Game.

From kickoff to the halftime show to the final play, fans in Minneapolis used more than 7.2 Terabytes (TB) in and around the stadium. That’s equal to more than 20.6 million super selfies from the stands. 1

Even greater, we saw more than 21.7 TB of data cross our network within a 2 mile radius of the stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Even with the high traffic, the hundreds of first responders we equipped with FirstNet didn’t have to compete with fans for access to network resources. FirstNet is the country's first and only nationwide public safety communications platform. Instead, they had a reliable, highly secure and “always on” connection. All backed by FirstNet’s power of priority and preemption. They could confidently communicate and coordinate throughout the game to help keep attendees safe and secure.

In the week leading up to the game, fans attended festivals, concerts, meet and greets and other activities. They used nearly 50 terabytes of mobile data at game-related events between Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 4 in the Minneapolis area.

That’s equal to streaming all the halftime show songs on repeat for over 15,000 hours.

We saw more than 218 GB of data traffic cross our mobile network during DIRECTV NOW’s Super Saturday Night concert. That’s equal to streaming a Jennifer Lopez song for more than 12 days non-stop.

Breaking data records is something we’ve come to expect from football fans. This season, total data usage jumped from 211TB to 263TB, a 25% increase from last season. 263 TB is enough data to fill 8,200 smartphones.3 That many smartphones would stretch across more than 12 football fields!4

To help give fans and first responders a great wireless experience, we ran the best plays on our Minneapolis network.

  • Throughout the 2017 season, we upgraded the DAS at the stadium in Minneapolis to provide customers with 220% more LTE capacity.
  • We deployed 10 Cell on Wheels (COWs), which equal 21 traditional cell sites. Five of these COWs have one of the highest capacity antennas on the market—the Luneburg Lens Antenna—better known as the “Giant Eyeball” antenna. It provides 10x more network capacity than a traditional antenna.
  • And it doesn’t stop there. We also enhanced or built 122 new permanent cell sites near heavily trafficked places like hotels, airports and convention centers. The best part? These enhancements aren’t going anywhere. They’ll benefit Minneapolis residents after the big weekend.

The 2018 sports year is already off to a great start. And we’ll be there with a strong network as fans continue to share all the unforgettable moments. And as first responders continue to keep those moments safe and secure.

1All figures include only data traffic from AT&T customers on AT&T’s venue-specific mobile network.

2All 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.

3Based on a standard smartphone with 32GB of memory.

4Based on a standard smartphone vertical length of 5.45 inches.