SBD/February 28, 2012/Facilities

AT&T To Use Antenna At Chesapeake Energy Arena To Improve Wireless Service

AT&T has become the third wireless provider “to use an antenna at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City that improves service during crowded events like Thunder games, and Sprint could be next,” according to Michael Kimball of the OKLAHOMAN. AT&T “went live on the arena's multicarrier distributed access system this month.” Some AT&T customers have “noticed improved service since the company began using the antenna, but there could be more changes in the future.” Wireless carriers pay about “$24,000 annually to access the $105,000 antenna.” Carriers also pay “a $6,000 startup fee.” Sprint and T-Mobile are “the only major wireless carriers who aren't yet using the antenna.” A T-Mobile spokesperson said that its customers “haven't reported problems with the signal in the arena and the company has no plans to hook up to the city's antenna.” But Sprint, an official NBA sponsor, is “kicking the tires.” Sprint Communications Manager Tom Cook said, “We are definitely looking at it. We have a site walk this week scheduled” (OKLAHOMAN, 2/28). SportsBusiness Journal this week looks at the connectivity challenges facing sports venues.

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