All Major Carriers Exceeded 1 Gbps at Super Bowl

There is exciting news coming out of the latest installment of the Super Bowl. According to Global Wireless Solutions (GWS), a leading testing and benchmark-setting entity for the wireless industry, their reports state that all current major 5G wireless carriers were capable of hitting download speeds that reached more than 1 Gbps. Leading up to the big game, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all spoke of their enhancements in Tampa, FL around Raymond James Stadium, the home of this year’s Super Bowl. The Samsung Note 20 5G was used to conduct the testing.

GWS conducted tests before the game at the Gameday Fan Plaza and inside the stadium before, during, and after. Each carrier was capable of great improvements when compared to 2020, but AT&T was capable of hitting the fastest peak speeds and overall average:

Wireless CarrierPeak 5G Speeds (Super Bowl LIV-2020)Peak 5G Speeds (Super Bowl LV-2021)Avg. 5G Speeds Super Bowl LV-2021Blended 4G/5G Peak Speeds% of Total Cell Sites Using 5G
AT&T878 Mbps1.71 Gbps1.26 Gbps975 Mbps99%
T-Mobile175 Mbps1.09 Gbps388 Mbps385 Mbps78%
Verizon924 Mbps1.51 Gbps432 Mbps425 Mbps98%

All three 5G wireless carriers have built out their 5G networks around Raymond James Stadium with an emphasis on high-band (mmWave) spectrum. This includes hefty investments by Verizon and AT&T costing $80 million and $75 million respectfully. These network improvements can be found throughout Tampa Bay with AT&T adding FirstNet improvements as part of its build. T-Mobile’s build includes a variety of spectrum from low to mid to mmWave bands.

To achieve such speeds, another exciting trend was spotted at football’s biggest stage: carriers were using carrier aggregation (CA) to deliver signals to consumers. This is important because carrier aggregation allows wireless providers to transmit faster download speeds due to the increased availability of capacity. AT&T used 8 channels for its CA (800 MHz of spectrum) in the 39 GHz band 74% of the time with Verizon using as many as 6 channels (600 MHz of spectrum) in the 28 GHz band 77% of the time by comparison. T-Mobile took advantage of its “layer cake” approach to 5G utilizing 600 MHz, 2.5 GHz, and mmWave 39 GHz allowing up to 4 channels (400 MHz of spectrum) of the 39 GHz band 73% of the time with 5G achieved 20% of the time at 2.5 GHz using 80 MHz.

Even with limited fans at this year’s event, the stadium was expected to host 25,000 fans, though it is unsure how many connected to each carrier at this time. Those living in or near Tampa Bay will have reason to be excited, however, well beyond seeing their team win the game. Though the Lombardi Trophy has been lifted and the confetti has been cleaned, Tampa Bay residents will be thrilled to hear that the 5G improvements to these networks weren’t simply a gimmick and are there to stay.

Source: Fierce Wireless