Another Super Bowl, another huge amount of data crossing the lines for AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), the nation’s No.2 wireless carrier. And believe it or not, wireless carriers have had trouble with their networks handling large volumes of calls, texts and data transfer in relatively tight quarters, like inside a sports stadium. So it seems that in recent years, companies like AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and others seem to use these major sporting events as lab opportunities to find ways to keep their customers connected with those who weren’t lucky enough to have tickets to the game.
The big concern is labeled the “big arena problem” – a major sporting event, and thousands of people at practically the same time are trying to make phone calls, send text messages, photos or videos over their data network. With ll that activity, networks have been known to get backlogged so that phone calls can’t be made and photos can’t be uploaded very quickly. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has been working on this for past big events by providing “cells on wheels” =- portable towers to help with the traffic.
And this year, thanks to the halftime show and the 34-minute power outage that followed shortly thereafter, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) reported that 78
gigabytes of data flowed through its network just in the hour of 8 p.m.-9 p.m. ET Sunday, which coincided with halftime and the power outage. That nearly doubled the peak hour during last year’s game, and helped the total data transfer level for the entire game reach nearly 400 GB, which was about 80 percent higher than last year’s game and set a new record. While the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans holds a little more than 71,000 fans – a large percentage f them likely not customers of AT&T – there were reportedly 73,000 phone calls made on the AT&T network during the game.
So how much is 78 gigabytes of data, and 388 gigabytes total?