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Do You Ever Wonder Why You Can’t Get Cell Phone Service At Concerts And Sporting Events?

why can't i get cell phone service at sporting events or concerts
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

We’ve all been there before. You take a photo at a big event, you trim it up nicely, give it a kick-ass border, run it through a sick filter, then when you go to upload it to Facebook … nothing … happens.

Maybe it happened at a big concert at the Cajundome or the New Orleans Arena. Maybe it was at a game while you were cheering on the Cajuns, Tigers or Saints. Crappy cell phone service at a major event is one of the most aggravating first-world problems to have.

If you’re like me, you’ve always chalked up your lack of service to one simple thing: Too many people wanting to use their phone in one place – and not enough towers. Well, you and I are pretty smart because that is pretty much correct. The crew at SwayMarkets took it a step further though. They decided to run an experiment on just how overwhelmed a wireless cell site can become when you put thousands of people in one area or venue.

SwayMarket’s founders took three iPhones – one from Sprint, one from Verizon and one from AT&T – and went to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park to see how each would respond using the company’s CarrierCompare software. Based on their results, the iPhones from Spring and Verizon stopped working completely, while the iPhone from AT&T kept “chugging along” at a very slower-than-usual pace – almost a third of what the download speeds usually are.

Amongst the numerous things to consider of course, is the fact that there may have been a lot more Sprint and Verizon users, which is what may have caused the two carriers to yield poorer results.

why does my phone have no service at sporting events and concerts
CNN

Looking at the performance data retrieved from the AT&T iPhone, you can clearly see that people used their phones most when there wasn’t much going on (i.e. pregame, timeouts) and service increased as more action was taking place and people were engaged.

The bright side in all this, are the developments currently taking place to put an end to this first world problem. Wireless carriers are working on a solution that will rely on strategically placed small antennas, rather than cell towers. The small antennas will be deployed around areas of concentrated population to increase the cell coverage and aid you in uploading that photo of your team taking the field to Instagram, or showing off the fact that you are front row at your favorite artist’s concert to your Facebook friends.

For now, we’ll just have to be patient…. or find a Wi-Fi connection.

 

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