As the largest political events of the season – the Republican and Democratic national conventions – draw near, U.S. wireless carriers Verizon and T-Mobile are boosting their networks to meet what is expected to be record-breaking demand.
In Cleveland, Ohio, where the Republican convention will be held July 18-21, Verizon said is doubling network capacity for its neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS) at Quicken Loans Arena and adding on-the-floor antenna sectors to provide coverage for delegates. Verizon said it is also stepping up small cell coverage in the surrounding areas, including the arena’s parking lots, to double network capacity. New indoor wireless DAS systems were also installed at Cleveland Convention Center (including the downtown Hilton Hotel), the Ritz Carlton, Tower City Center and JACK Casino facilities, Verizon said.
Similarly, T-Mobile said it is boosting coverage in Cleveland by reallocating mid-band spectrum from its HSPA 3G network to support LTE coverage. The Un-carrier is also upgrading its DAS with LTE antennas, “better backhaul” and newer equipment at locations including the Convention Center, Hilton Hotel, Wuicken Loans Arena and Ritz Carlton; deploying a Cell on Wheels site to provide extra coverage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center; and adding a new cell site at the Cleveland Public Auditorium.
Both carriers also have work under way in Philadelphia, Pa., which will be the site of the Democratic convention July 25 through 28.
Verizon said it is capitalizing on improvements made in the city last year for Pope Francis’ visit, which included new fiber optic cables, cell sites and small cell deployments in the downtown area. Verizon said it is also adding capacity at the Wells Fargo Center and will deploy a cell site on wheels to add outdoor capacity in the parking lots. Small cells have also been added at Lincoln Financial Field nearby and new fiber optic cable has been laid for backhaul to handle media broadcasts of the event, Verizon said.
T-Mobile said it is also building on improvements made in Philly for the Pope’s visit. New improvements made just for the convention include upgrading two DAS at the Wells Fargo Center and PA Convention Center and increasing fiber backhaul connections in “some high traffic spots” at both locations.
Rivals AT&T and Sprint have not yet announced any improvement plans ahead of the conventions.