By Mike Hennigan, Regional Vice President, Network
Sports fans from around the country will soon be Houston-bound for some of the biggest and most exciting moments in football. When the top two teams in the country face off, it’s sure to be one of the largest data events in the world as customers connect with friends and share their experiences through social media, texts and calls. To prepare, Sprint has been hard at work for more than nine months adding new network infrastructure and boosting capacity to ensure our customers have a great experience.
Small Cells Boost Capacity 500%
At Sprint we use a number of tools to Densify and Optimize our network, and small cells are a great way to add more capacity in high-traffic locations. To prepare for the big game, we installed more than 100 small cells in and around NRG Stadium and other popular nearby locations. As a result, we increased capacity inside the stadium by 500 percent. And we’ve significantly boosted capacity and data speeds covering the stadium parking lots, Discovery Green, Wortham Center, Rice University Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Marriott Marquis Hotel, and other locations.
In addition, we’re using Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to boost coverage and capacity at
The Museum of Fine Arts, University of Houston Stadium, Westin Hotel, and at the ESPN Broadcast Desk. A COW is a mobile cell site comprised of antenna and radio transceiver equipment located on a truck or trailer.
Sprint’s small cells and COWs (as well as cell sites across Greater Houston) also use carrier aggregation, an LTE-Advanced technology that bonds together bands of spectrum to create a wider lane, allowing more data traffic to travel at higher rates on capable devices. This tremendous technology doubles capacity with just a simple software upgrade at the cell site.
A Massive Data Event
Each year the amount of data consumed by device-toting fans at the big game dramatically increases. Last year on game day, Sprint customers used 1.6 terabytes of data inside and directly around Levi’s Stadium. Total tonnage on the indoor system last year increased 150 percent compared to the 2014 game at the University of Phoenix.
More recently, at the Houston Texan’s game at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016, total data tonnage inside the stadium was 637 gigabytes – higher than levels inside Levi’s Stadium for the big game last year. During the same Texan’s game average download speed on our 2.5 GHz spectrum was 28 Mbps.
Team Sprint is all geared up to help our customers enjoy an amazing event on February 5. We’ll be rooting for a great match-up and new records to be set, both on the field and on the Sprint network.