Technology Blog

The NCAA® Men’s Final Four®* is one of the most exciting events on the annual sports calendar. And this year’s basketball showcase certainly did not disappoint. During The Big Dance®, fans were using our network to share the most exciting moments on and off the court via their mobile devices -- nowhere more so than Saturday and Monday, where the data traffic turned out by our customers at the stadium in Indianapolis set an AT&T network record for the event.

Months ago, our network team drew up the X’s and O’s of our network game plan to give our customers a great experience – and we delivered. Here’s what we saw from our customers using the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network we placed in the stadium:

  • Total data usage from inside the stadium was more than 1.52TB for all three games. This is the most ever for an NCAA® Men’s Final Four® on our in-stadium mobile network.  1.52TB is enough for 4.35M social media posts with photos.
  • We saw data soar during our peak traffic hour at the stadium, which occurred on Saturday from 7-8pm EST, when fans were sending and receiving videos, photos, and more. Fans uploaded and downloaded approximately 165GB.
  • Between all eight tournament sites where we had venue-specific networks, we did more than 4.12TB of data. This is equal to more than 6 consecutive months of streaming HD Video – that’s a lot of basketball.

Over the last four NCAA® Men’s Final Four® tournaments (2012-2015), total data usage on AT&T’s in-stadium mobile network has increased more than 300 percent both overall and during peak hours. That’s a soaring leap that wouldn’t be possible without our people and the tools we use to cover these kinds of events.

Preparing for an event of this size is like going into the paint against a seven-footer – you have to get creative. So to handle the full-court mobile press, we sent out a starting five of network tools that consisted of DAS, Wi-Fi, cell towers on wheels, cell site enhancements and even a “giant eyeball antenna.” All built to imaginatively provide better service for our customers.

March Madness® is now behind us, but stay tuned for future posts on how our latest network innovations are keeping you connected, from the biggest events to remote destinations and everywhere in between.

*NCAA, Final Four and March Madness are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association

John Donovan
John Donovan CEO – AT&T Communications