February 06, 2019

After more than a year of planning and prepping the network in Atlanta ahead of Sunday’s big game, one thing is clear: Sprint customers are using their devices more than ever before, and Sprint was ready for it!

Sprint deployed massive MIMO technology in Atlanta ahead of the game in order to add significant capacity to the network and give customers a better wireless experience than before. Massive MIMO delivered a touchdown on game day with significantly improved capacity in areas with the largest crowds such as the stadium and other nearby venues downtown. In fact, several massive MIMO sites carried on average 80 percent of the data traffic inside the stadium.

Sprint customers generated new records for data utilization during professional football’s annual championship event. On game day, Sprint customers in and around the stadium used 25 TB of data, a 157 percent increase, compared to the game in 2018. In the stadium alone there was a 95 percent increase in data usage compared to previous games held at the venue, as well as a 65 percent data increase compared to the big game last year.

The most popular app group used by Sprint customers at the stadium was social media (48%), web browsing (25%), audio streaming (14%) and video streaming (12%). The most popular app used at the stadium was Instagram.

 

The great news about all of that data usage is that customers also enjoyed faster speeds. In tests conducted by Sprint before, during and after the game, the network team consistently clocked peak download speeds of more than 300 Mbps in and around the stadium! And, the results of nearly a thousand consumer-initiated tests taken using Speedtest by Ookla at the game showed Sprint with average download speeds of 93.28 Mbps, beating both Verizon and AT&T.[1]  (And this didn’t even include our extensive massive MIMO build outside of the stadium!)

Providing customers with a great experience as they traveled to and from various event venues was a big part of Sprint’s network plans ahead of the game. For one of Atlanta’s main public transit systems, MARTA, Sprint upgraded voice and data service in its stations and launched new wireless service in additional underground stations. With a significant increase in ridership on both Saturday and Sunday, Sprint saw more than 807 GB of data usage during this time period.

“We’re proud that we scored a win by helping to make the game day experience at the stadium better for our customers,” said Heather Campbell, Network Director for the Southeast, Sprint. “And best of all, the investment we made in building out a faster, better and more reliable network than our Atlanta customers had before and ahead of the launch of mobile 5G service, is here to stay.”

Since we’re only 362 days until the 2020 Big Game our network teams are already planning for the event by boosting data speeds and adding capacity in and around The Magic City! We’ll see you in Miami next year!


[1] Based on analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data average download speed from 4G LTE results. Tests taken at the stadium during the 2019 Pro Football Championship. Providers included have 10+ device results and 100+ tests completed.