AT&T wireless customers continue to gripe how bad the service has become since the iPhone came to the network. Dropped calls, slow internet connections, call not being connected – just to name a few. And based on personal experience, don’t bother bringing your phone to Tiger Stadium or the Superdome on game day.
Some of AT&T’s problems has to do with huge demand on the network. Problems will form when a large crowd form and start using their phones.
“With 180,000 fans on campus during the Florida game, there was quite a bit of traffic,” Sue Sperry, AT&T Louisiana Corporate Communications manager said in an email interview. Besides the huge demand on the network, Sperry also added that a technical issue arose in sending and receiving text messages.
In addition to deploying temporary cell sites on campus during football games, plans are being developed to reduce the traffic load on the network.
“AT&T is adding two additional cell sites this year, and next year, our network team is engineering a solution that will spread out the traffic demand at Tigers Stadium to the other 12 sites around campus,” Sperry said. “That will enable us to handle the kind of crowds that have been on campus during games.“
A different situation at the Superdome
Upgrading the network around Tiger Stadium may sound simple; the Louisiana Superdome is a different situation. Getting a signal inside the dome from outside sources is difficult as the dome is surrounded by steel. WWL radio added a low-power FM transmitter in 2006 because of the difficultly of getting a radio signal.
Sperry added that AT&T is also upgrading the wireless facilities at the Louisiana Superdome. She tells ControlAltTV that AT&T has five cell towers inside the superdome, all of them are being upgraded to handle additional connections. Additional resources will be deployed for the upcoming Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons.
AT&T is also planning a major upgrade of wireless “coverage at the dome and at New Orleans Arena”. The upgrades will start next year, according to Sperry.
In addition to upgrading the wireless network at Tiger Stadium and the Louisiana Superdome, AT&T has also upgraded the New Orleans and Baton Rouge market to the 850Mhz spectrum. The new spectrum allows wireless signals to penetrate buildings and improve network performance.
Additional cities in Louisiana will be rolled-over to the 850Mhz in 2010.