By Scott Santi, Regional Vice President, Network
It’s not every day that Pope Francis comes to town. This September millions of people from around the world will flock to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York for this momentous occasion. And with approximately 1.5 million people slated to be packed into an approximately 3 mile square radius in Philly alone, it’s safe to say that that this will be an unprecedented event.
At an event such as this, wireless spectrum airwaves with their finite capacity, can literally fill-up and become clogged as people post and communicate with family and friends. To support the papal visit, our local engineers have been working hard to provide the additional capacity needed to give customers a reliable experience across the various venues. Our efforts include a mix of permanent capacity upgrades as well as COWs (Cell on Wheels) to provide added capacity in high-traffic locations.
We’re pleased to report that our network performance across all markets, including Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C., has been steadily improving. PC Magazine in its June 2015 annual network review said, “Sprint more than doubled its speed in Philadelphia between last year and this year, putting it in the same class as AT&T and T-Mobile, and making it truly competitive in Philly for the first time in several years.”1
In Philadelphia, New York and D.C., we’ve added hundreds of new 2.5GHz cell sites, and expanded our 1.9GHz and 800MHz LTE coverage. Each cell site has then been systematically optimized to maximize throughput and provide the best customer experience. In addition, our local engineers have improved service and upgraded the wireless systems in many of the high-traffic public venues slated to be on the Pope’s agenda.
In Philadelphia we’ve made permanent capacity upgrades at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Academy of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute, Logan Square, and along the Ben Franklin Parkway. In New York we recently added 800MHz service to improve coverage inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum. And we’re making great progress working with Transit Wireless to deploy 4G LTE service throughout the New York City subway system. In fact, according to Transit Wireless, we now have more stations on-air than any other carrier as of August 28. In the past three months we turned up 34 stations between Queens and Manhattan , bringing our current total station count to 82. Travelers in D.C. will also notice better service at Reagan International Airport resulting from a recent upgrade.
We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis, along with thousands of our customers, to Philadelphia, New York, and D.C. We’re excited to play our part in helping customers capture and share this once-in-a-lifetime event.