There was more at stake this past Sunday than the Championship of the National Football League. All three major U.S. wireless providers had upgraded their 5G service in and around the Tampa area. According to AT&T, its 5G was the star of the game as it "provided fans with super-fast speeds both inside the stadium and out. And it made its stellar debut when stacked up against the competition."
AT&T says it delivered 5G service at the Super Bowl that was nearly 3x faster than comparable Verizon and T-Mobile service
Fierce Wireless reports that T-Mobile used its complete "Layer Cake" in Tampa including its 600MHz Low-band, 2.5GHz mid-band, and 39GHz mmWave spectrum.According to AT&T, its mmWave AT&T 5G+ service delivered an average download data speed of 1.261 Gbps based on data provided by independent third-party firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS). This testing took place in and around Raymond James Stadium on Super Sunday and was nearly three times faster than the average 5G data speeds delivered by Verizon and T-Mobile.
AT&T says that its peak 5G download data speed in and around Raymond James stadium in Tampa on Sunday was 1.71Gbps. This number came from GWS as did the average blended 4G/5G download data speed of 975Mbps that AT&T says that it achieved. The latter, according to the nation's third largest carrier, was twice as fast as the blended 4G/5G numbers generated by Verizon and T-Mobile.
During last year's Super Bowl in Miami, AT&T subscribers used 10.2 TB of data. This year's figure was 10.7TB and the average AT&T subscriber used 2.7x the amount of data during the game than he/she used during the 2020 contest. If you're curious about what you could do with 10.7TB of data, it would be equivalent to streaming 1,700 hours (nearly 71 days) of 4G video, 890,000 hours of online gaming, and 2.7 million hours of streaming music.
Just like winning the Super Bowl, getting a carrier in position to produce the aforementioned fast 5G data speeds requires plenty of hard work. During the 18 months prior to the Super Bowl in Tampa, AT&T spend $75 million to upgrade its cell sites in the city. More than 2 dozen mmWave sites were placed inside the stadium and in the parking lots. It also did the same at Tampa International Airport, and in Downtown Tampa. The carrier also brought in COWs and COLTs. No, not 5G animals. COWs are Cell on Wheels and COLTs are Cell on Light Trucks. These are mobile cell sites on wheels that can be driven to locations where additional service is needed to match additional demand.
In its press release, AT&T made it clear that by beefing up cell service in Tampa, it was looking at more than just enhancing its cell sites for the game. "But the game plan for AT&T was not just about what we could do to boost connectivity on game day, but to take connectivity in the Tampa market to the next level," said the company. "Our All-Star team in Tampa made a commitment to upgrade our network to give our customers there a best-in-class wireless experience."
5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity and will deliver download data speed 10 to 100 times 4G speeds. The faster data speeds and latency improvements will allow the creation of new technology that can't even be imagined at this time. Self-driving cars will certainly depend on 5G availability. And 5G smartphone users will be able to download HD movies in only seconds.
AT&T says that its 5G performance during the Super Bowl "showed that when our network is called upon, it delivers impressive performances."