The nation’s leading wireless carriers are touting their network upgrades in the Twin Cities with just more than two weeks to go until Minneapolis hosts Super Bowl LII.
Verizon this week highlighted the distributed antenna system constructed prior to the opening of U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.
The carrier said it increased the number of antennas by nearly 50 percent last year to establish one of the largest stadium DAS systems in the country. The stadium will feature more than 1,200 antennas, including two large Matsing Ball antennas, across more than 100 coverage zones.
Outside the stadium, Verizon officials touted 24 new cell sites and more than 230 small cells in the metro area and DAS systems at the Mall of America and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Overall wireless data capacity in the metro area increased by more than 500 percent over the past two years.
“Minneapolis-St. Paul is now a super-connected city with leading LTE Advanced network technology and the small cell densification necessary for next-gen technologies,” Verizon Chief Network Engineer Nicola Palmer said in a statement Tuesday.
T-Mobile, meanwhile, said it increased LTE capacity up to 35 times in areas around the Twin Cities and now features the fastest network in the area.
Company officials also said this week that it doubled the LTE spectrum available in Minneapolis-St. Paul and launched carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies in the market.
It also plans to deploy Centralized Radio Access Network technology to bolster upload speeds inside the stadium. Network capacity in U.S. Bank Stadium, meanwhile, will be increased 30-fold.
Sprint said last month it spent past year-plus investing hundreds of millions in new infrastructure across the metro area.
The carrier will offer a DAS of more than 800 antennas powered by its small cells inside U.S. Bank Stadium, along with two-channel carrier aggregation and 2.5 GHz spectrum.
More than 300 small cells will be installed in greater Minneapolis-St. Paul by game day, and Sprint also plans to place hundreds of its all-wireless “Magic Box” small cells in the area.
The company characterized those systems as “a major step” toward the debut of 5G mobile networks as early as late 2018. AT&T also said fans will be able to rely on 800 antennas in U.S. Bank Stadium along with upgraded or new DAS at 16 locations throughout the Minneapolis area.
“We’re excited about launching this new wireless network in Minneapolis in the coming months as we move towards standards-based mobile 5G,” Marachel Knight, AT&T’s SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design, said in November.