DAS, small cells, massive MIMO and 5G deployments spike ahead of big game
All four Tier 1 U.S. carriers are touting 5G-focused investments in the Miami area ahead of Super Bowl LIV, set for Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium. Beyond providing cellular connectivity, AT&T and Verizon are hosting experiential demonstrations of 5G applications like augmented reality and various broadcast-type functions.
AT&T is using its millimeter wave spectrum to provide what it calls 5G+ service for users. On Saturday the company is hosting a performance by Lady Gaga and has set up a “Monster Wall,” a 60-foot digital display, connected over 5G, that will “transform” video of attendees into a “glowing digital avatar.”
There’s also an “AT&T Fan Cam” that will stream via Twitter on-field video, and crowd-generated content.
Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer, said in a statement, “We’re unveiling these smart, seamless and completely interactive 5G experiences at AT&T TV Super Saturday Night for the very first time. Visiting fans will be among the first to see the full potential of what 5G can bring as we connect them to this year’s show like never before.”
AT&T put its Miami-area investment at $85 million.
Sprint detailed the installation of massive MIMO radios in “split mode” that use its 2.5 GHz spectrum to provide LTE and 5G. The company said its stadium deployment will use a distributed antenna system to supply LTE and massive MIMO radios for 5G. “Together, these solutions will provide the equivalent of 10 macro cell towers at the stadium,” according to Sprint press release.
Beyond the stadium, Sprint has upgraded around 300 area cell sites to support 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz. New macro sites were installed in Delray Beach, Doral, Hialeah, Homestead, Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, and Pompano Beach. The Intercontinental Hotel, Fontainebleu Miami Beach Hotel, Bayfront Park, Margaritaville Beach Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and the Miami Beach Convention Center all received new installs or infrastructure upgrades.
T-Mobile US is currently offering nationwide 5G using its low-band 600 MHz spectrum holdings, and deployed millimeter wave-based 5G in parts of Hard Rock Stadium and Bayfront Park. The operator said it has doubled LTE capacity at the stadium and built out a new DAS and numerous small cell sites.
T-Mo’s President of Technology Neville Ray said the upgrades will persist “long after the Super Bowl has come and gone. If the merger with Sprint is approved, we’ll build on this 5G foundation to deliver transformational broad and deep 5G for all.”
Verizon started the festivities on Jan. 26 using 5G to livestream in 8K the Pro Bowl from Orlando to a viewing area in Miami. Until Feb. 1, Verizon is demonstrating 5G-enabled in-stadium wayfinding using augmented reality, AR for live, on-field graphics, livestreaming multiple camera angles and volumetric replays.
Verizon pegged its Super Bowl investment at $80 million.