SBD/January 27, 2012/Facilities

Amway Center Cell Reception Still Spotty Ahead Of NBA All-Star Game

Sprint Nextel might add temporary mobile cell site outside arena for All-Star weekend
More than a year after Amway Center opened and “complaints of poor reception started flooding in, mobile users are still reporting spotty service inside the 875,000-square-foot structure,” according to Walter Pacheco of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Carriers agree that reception “is a problem and are scrambling to improve it, especially in time for the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 26.” But they warn that Amway Center's “sheer size and high digital traffic will continue to create problems for mobile users trying to upload and download photos and videos from live events.” AT&T Area Network Manager Richard Bruno said, "We see just a tremendous use of data utilized in there, and it's a challenge to handle the demand of nearly 20,000 people during a sold-out event." Bruno said that AT&T near the end of '11 “connected to the antennas and added a fourth cell site -- the equivalent of a small cell tower -- inside the building to expand its coverage and capacity.” Sprint Nextel spokesperson Crystal Davis said that the company “might add a temporary mobile cell site outside the Amway Center to help improve coverage during the All-Star weekend.” Verizon Wireless Regional PR Manager Chuck Hamby said that the carrier “will finish testing its updated system before the NBA event.” In addition to boosting the capacity of nearby cell towers, Hamby said that there is “a ‘good chance’ the carrier will deploy a vehicle equipped with a cell site to the Amway Center as a backup” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/27).
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