By Eamon O’Leary, Regional Network Vice President, Sprint
Fans from around the country will soon convene in Santa Clara to capture and share the biggest moments in football, with the game at Levi’s Stadium slated to be one of the largest data events in the world.
Here at Sprint we’ve been on the ground for more than 9 months, bolstering our network to ensure a great experience for football fans in and around the stadium.
Inside Levi’s Stadium we’ve increased the coverage and capacity of our Distributed Antenna System (DAS – a wireless system within a structure) by 45 percent. And we’ve upgraded the 800MHz and 1.9GHz system to now include 2.5GHz using two-channel carrier aggregation for even faster data speeds. (Carrier aggregation is advanced wireless technology that essentially creates a wider lane, allowing more traffic to travel at higher rates.)
At Moscone Center, home of the NFL Experience, we’ve expanded the coverage and capacity of our DAS by 33 percent. And here as well, we’ve added 2.5GHz service using two-channel carrier aggregation.
Eleven Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) have been brought in to various event locations to enhance capacity and coverage for voice, data and text messaging. (A COW is a mobile cell site comprised of antenna and radio transceiver equipment located on a truck or trailer.) These temporary cell sites will enhance service outside Levi’s stadium during the Tailgate Party and events at Fan Place. COWs will also improve capacity at the Santa Clara and San Jose convention centers, the SAP Center, at Justin Herman Plaza for the NFL Experience, at AT&T Park for the night before concert, and at Treasure Island for the Friday night party.
As for the NFC and AFC training facilities, we’re enhancing the fan experience with a COW at San Jose Spartan Stadium and a DAS at Stanford Stadium.
For fans flying in, both the San Francisco and San Jose airports have added coverage through a DAS at SFO and Oakland Airport; and via a temporary cell site at San Jose Airport. Visitors will also be pleased to experience faster data speeds throughout the San Francisco and Santa Clara regions as a result of Sprint’s recent deployment of two-channel carrier aggregation on high-traffic 2.5GHz cell sites.
The real test for how our network performs of course will be on February 7 when Levi’s Stadium fills up with device-toting fans. We expect it will be an amazing event, one that perhaps posts new records both on the field and in the network. We look forward to playing.
Feb. 8, 2016, Post Game Update: Sprint customers used 1.6 terabytes of data inside and directly around Levi’s stadium on Feb. 7. The DAS at Levi’s Stadium saw a 150% increase in total tonnage compared to last year’s big game inside the University of Phoenix. And traffic around the stadium was 93% higher than traffic outside the University of Phoenix Stadium last year. This year the biggest spikes in network traffic occurred just after the opening ceremony and immediately following the half time show.
As for speeds, according to an analysis by T-Mobile based on Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence Data from Speedtest.net, Sprint’s average LTE data speed inside the stadium during game time was 38.1Mbps - T-Mobile was 39.5Mbps, AT&T was 38.4Mbps, and Verizon was 17.9Mbps. (For context, it takes 1 second to download a 5MB file at both T-Mobile and Sprint’s reported speeds.)