Lessons from the Super Bowl

Posted by: Joan Marsh on February 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

The Super Bowl.  There are many ways to calculate the scope and impact of the big game – both on and off the gridiron.  Here are just a few:

  • $15,343:  the highest price for a ticket to the big game as offered on the NFL’s website;
  • 11 million:  number of pizza slices Domino’s Pizza expected to sell Sunday;
  • $10.8 billion:  amount spent on beer for the game

But the numbers most important to us were the record-breaking numbers being generated by our customers in the stands.  From our very own John Donovan, AT&T’s senior executive vice president – technology and network operations, here are the numbers that we count: 

  • 215:  total data usage in GBs in Lucas Oil Stadium – the highest data usage we’ve ever seen from a single sporting event;
  • 74,204:  the number of calls our customers made on game day; and
  • 722,296:  the number of text messages sent and received.

These numbers are incredible and they tell the story of mobile devices and how integral they’ve become to our lives, our experiences and the way we communicate.  And one fact really stands out – our customers at the game created and uploaded more content than they consumed.  In fact, they uploaded nearly 40 percent more data than they downloaded – posting videos, pictures and messages for family and friends not lucky enough to join them in the stands.

These numbers also tell a story about spectrum.  As the mobile broadband data revolution continues, the urgency for new spectrum allocations continues to grow.  Despite the National Broadband Plan’s laudable spectrum goals, we have not had a major spectrum auction since 2008 (the 700 MHz auction) and no major auctions are currently scheduled.  The spectrum legislation currently being considered by Congress has never been more essential.  And as we have argued elsewhere in our blogs, any new spectrum allocations should be assigned via auction without unnecessary encumbrances or limits that hinder any individual carrier’s ability to fully and fairly participate.

AT&T of course engaged in its own pre-game drills. Our teams started working nearly a year ago to ensure that our customers had the best possible experience, especially in the heavily concentrated areas in downtown Indianapolis and around Lucas Oil Stadium.  We launched an AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Zone with 15 access points; we installed an expanded Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at Lucas Oil Stadium and in a number of other venues around town; we added capacity to nearly 200 cell sites throughout the Indianapolis market and we deployed nine COWs (or Cells on Wheels) to lift local capacity.  And we relied on every one of those enhancements to ensure a great experience on game day.

We’ll continue to invest in and enhance our wireless networks, but more spectrum is the only long-term solution to the capacity constraints faced by the wireless industry. 

One final number:

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