With Super Bowl kickoff a little over 48 hours away, the major carriers are readying not only their primetime ad spots but their networks as well.
Miami’s Sun Life Stadium will play host to Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday and every major network will feel the pressure to stay afloat as hundreds of thousands of cell phone-toting fans descend on the Sunshine State.
According to Sprint, the carrier has invested more than $2.3 million on telecom enhancements for game-day communications, in addition to more than $53 million in network improvements Sprint made during 2008 and 2009 in Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to augment its wireless networks.
Sprint has deployed five cell sites on wheels (COWs) near Sun Life Stadium and the Miami Beach area for additional network coverage and capacity. The carrier says it will be closely monitoring call and data volumes on its network on game day and on the days leading up to the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
Verizon Wireless customers won’t be left on the sidelines. The carrier says it has completed installation of a permanent in-building “super system” at Sun Life Stadium, along with other network upgrades to ensure 3G wireless services throughout South Florida during the game and throughout the year.
The new system features two ground-level base stations and numerous antenna arrays around the stadium, including those installed on the 400-foot-high light towers.
Verizon said the permanent system will handle twice the capacity of the most powerful mobile cell sites typically deployed at large special events.
In addition to the new in-stadium system, Verizon Wireless has teamed with Qualcomm on a new technology to optimize network performance during the game. Qualcomm’s Engineering Services Group developed a technology to address the special technical challenges of a wireless network serving a large number of users in a small geographic area.
Not to be outdone, AT&T has stepped up it coverage strategy in the area as well. The carrier has deployed three COWs in the stadium parking lot, as well as a new distributed antenna system, or DAS, inside the stadium. AT&T says it has also added a fourth additional layer of capacity to its cell site inside the stadium, with its 2G signal getting a 100 percent increase and 3G enjoying a 280 percent increase.
A spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless quipped that dependable network coverage at the Super Bowl has become just one more facet of the complete Big Game experience.
“It is a lot more fun when you can call your friends to tell them you got face value seats at the 50-yard line and are so close to the field that you can see Peyton’s smile through his helmet as he beats up on the Saints,” she joked.
We’re fairly sure there’s some Drew Brees fans in the Verison camp as well.