About The Bay: Spotty Cell Service Ironic At AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Complaints are being heard loud and clear at AT&T Park, the San Francisco ballpark named, as any consumer knows, for a phone company. The problem? Customers say they’re striking out when it comes to clear and reliable cell phone service.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports:

Giants fans reported a variety of problems when KCBS’ Mike Sugerman took to the stands to gauge customer satisfaction during his travels.  Among the complaints were dropped calls, not being able to hear the person on the other end of the line, and failed photo uploads.

After AT&T spent $52 million for naming rights, it stands to reason that they’d want their own product to work well at the ballpark, Sugerman suggested.

“It’s like the Bay Bridge,” reasoned AT&T spokesman John Britton. “There is congestion, when you put 42,000 people in a relatively small area and they all start competing for those lanes, the wireless highway gets congested.”

And, Britton pointed out that considering how popular the Giants have been following an historic World Series win, there probably isn’t a hotter hot spot for cell service on earth than AT&T Park.

“Opening Day this year was record demand on the network,” he explained. “42,000 people all snapping memories as that banner goes up and panning around taking pictures of each other, trying to upload them quickly to Facebook and other places.”

“There are 17 different sectors the ballpark’s been broken into for our wireless network and there are 119 antennas inside that small area, feeding it,” he went on to outline coverage in the ballpark. “We found a few that are overlapping, there are some hot spots, there’s some interference. We’re working on it, we’re going to take care of that.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • BigRay

    This has been this way for a long time. Nothing gets through at the ballpark except non-mms SMSs. Phone calls never connect. Ironically, my wife’s Verizon iPhone works great. It’s an embarrassment. Is this how they built their nationwide network? This is a SHOWCASE VENUE for AT&T and service is totally unreliable. As a parent who needs to stay connected to a babysitter at all times, it worries me that I can’t be gotten a hold of in an emergency. AT&T, Drop an OC192 or 10Gbps loop into the park. Put in enough repeaters, AP’s, and antenas, and fix the problem. While your at it, fix the free WiFi that has never worked. That will take load off of the facebook / video / picture sharing. Your talking about a solution under 100K OTD. You’ll make that up in SMS and Data in a few months, if not the season. Come on.

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  • Tony Gallen

    Seem’s like more excuses from AT&T as usual. Which is exactly why I left them! And now I have never had a dropped call since.

  • Ric

    I worked a summer at Verizon Wireless. They have a whole department of Mobile cellphone tower trucks. They use they for big events they want customers to have functional phones at. They drop a few at the Taste of Chicago, The Indianapolis 500, Augusta National (when its golf tourney time), The Superbowl every year, etc.
    The OP is correct that the “wireless highways get congested”. A giant crowd will do that…but its not like you didn’t have MONTHS of lead time before that crowd formed and crashed your service. VZW was smart to invest in mobile “extra lanes” for their network, they use them to great effect at many big events.

    At&t clearly does not. It’s fitting that their service not even work at their own branded stadium. The problem could be fixed for less than $200,000 in equipment/install….and lord knows this article was at least that much in bad publicity for them…

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