Technology Blog

Arizona served as the center of the pro football universe over the past week, and fans pulled out their mobile devices to connect friends and family to their Big Game experience.

As a result, the amount of data our customers streamed in and out of the stadium was higher than ever before. It was a new record for us not only at a pro football championship game, but for any pro football game ever. Here’s what we saw from our customers using our stadium-specific Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network:

- Total in-venue data usage was more than 696GB

  • 696GB is the equivalent to 1.9M social media posts with photos.

- When looking at numbers from both the in-stadium DAS network and outdoor-stadium DAS network serving the parking lots areas – we did more than 1.7TB of data.

  • 1.7TB is the equivalent to 4.8M social media posts with photos.
  • The 1.7TB total surpasses the total cellular usage of 1.41TB from the college football championship game in Dallas last month.

- Fans uploaded and downloaded the most data on the in-venue network from 3-4pm MST, which is the hour in which most fans started filing into the stadium. During this hour 125GB crossed our in-stadium network.

Like TV ratings, mobile data metrics during the Big Game continue to increase year-over-year. People are using their mobile devices more than ever from sports and entertainment events to capture the moment and share it with the world instantaneously. Since 2011 – inclusive of the last five Big Games –   the total data usage on AT&T’s in-stadium network has increased from 177GB to 696GB and peak hour data usage has increased from 30GB to 125GB.

These numbers don’t come as a total shock as we experienced several high marks this season. In total, from 253 games at 31 stadiums, our customers have used more than 85.7TB of mobile data on our venue-specific cellular networks. That’s equivalent to more than 245M social media posts with photos from 253 games (an average of almost 1M social media posts per game).

To ensure our customers could share from throughout the greater Phoenix area, we ran out the best players on our network roster to provide a great mobile experience. In fact, many of the network enhancements are permanent. These include:

- 13 new or upgraded permanent DAS at nearby locations, including the stadium where we more than tripled the capacity of the DAS compared to the end of the 2013 football season

- The stadium is the first venue in the country in which we deployed four carrier LTE coverage.

  • Four carrier LTE coverage gives us additional lanes on the “data highway” to provide customers with a faster and more reliable mobile experience

- 10 temporary Cell on Wheels (COWs), three serving the stadium to handle the influx of wireless demand on game day and seven additional COWs serving fans attending events during the week leading up to the Big Game

- 24 new or upgraded permanent cell sites throughout the greater Phoenix area in places where Big Game-related events took place

The professional and college football championship games helped us break the huddle fast in 2015 and hit the ground running. Hope you enjoyed the game as much as we did.

John Donovan
John Donovan CEO – AT&T Communications