Now AT&T has some improvements to make so that calls don't drop, tweets trend, and Facebook statuses post during the upcoming Democratic National Convention. On Wednesday, AT&T was named the official wireless provider for the DNC.
With an expected 35,000 visitors, the DNC isn't the largest event Charlotte has ever handled. But one explosive moment could plug up the data lines. Cynthia Marshall, president of AT&T in North Carolina gives Madonna's Super Bowl show as an example. "There were ten thousand tweets per second. Just during that half time performance."
AT&T plans on creating wi-fi hot zones around the convention. They'll extend coverage by boosting cell sites with extra layers of frequency like adding extra lanes on a highway. They'll also bring in COWS or cells on wheels to help create an extra grid over the convention for devices to tap into.
Other wireless providers like T-mobile, Sprint, and Verizon are also bulking up their networks to prepare for the convention. It's a lot of pressure.
"Obviously there's a lot riding on it, because there's a tremendous amount of communication that happens during a week like that."
AT&T began providing 4G LTE service last year. But even without a big convention in town, it's not always perfect. Nekeya Sidbury has been a customer for four years now. "It's pretty good. Sometimes it freezes up and ya know I think that's just because I have so many apps open. When I tend to close them I get better speed on my phone."
Most of the changes to the network will remain after the DNC ends. Everything except for the cells on wheels. In that case, the COWs will go on home.