Cingular Wireless Beefs Up Network for Super Bowl XLI

The Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears aren’t the only ones preparing for Super Bowl XLI. Cingular Wireless, now a part of the new AT&T, has spent the past six months planning for the big event.

“A huge event like the Super Bowl, where nearly 100,000 people converge
onto an area the size of a few city blocks, requires monumental efforts,”
said Rich Guidotti, vice president and general manager for AT&T’s South
Florida wireless operations. “Our network team has gone above and beyond to ensure our customers have the best wireless experience possible under the
circumstances.”

Typically, most carriers only use a portion of their spectrum in geographical areas. But AT&T’s wireless unit is using its entire South Florida 70 megahertz spectrum in Dolphin Stadium and the surrounding areas, where the company anticipates a spike in network traffic. The company’s network team has set up two cell sites on wheels, or “COWs”, in the stadium parking lot; added dozens of voice channels to its two cell sites located inside the stadium; and maximized its high-speed 3G (third generation) capacity in the area, making it possible to process thousands of calls and data sessions with peak data speeds above three megabits per second. Capacity also has been added at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel and along Ocean Drive in South Beach where some of the Super Bowl week activities will be held.

Additionally, AT&T’s wireless unit will have network personnel on site
for game day to monitor the network and manually balance traffic on the
cell sites at the stadium in order to maximize the ability for customers to
make calls.

“We saw a 30 percent increase in usage on our Jacksonville network last
year during the week of Super Bowl XL, which resulted in about six million
additional minutes of usage on the network,” said Mark Austin, executive
director of AT&T’s South Florida wireless network. “We anticipate a similar
experience here in Miami.”

AT&T invested $165 million in its South Florida wireless network last
year — $400 million statewide — upgrading and expanding service, which
included the rollout of its high-speed 3G (third generation) network. The
company’s 3G network allows customers to download at average data speeds
between 400-700 Kbps (kilobits per second) on the downlink, with bursts to
more than a megabit per second.