SRG's Super Bowl Scouting Report...of LTE and 5G cellular capacity

SRG's Super Bowl Scouting Report...of LTE and 5G cellular capacity

Our analysis of potential capacity in LTE and 5G cellular networks around the State Farm stadium in Glendale, Arizona

02/06/2023 | 21 pages

SRG conducted a scouting report of available LTE and 5G capacity around the State Farm stadium in Glendale, AZ.  Based on our tool box of drive test tools, we provide our estimate for the amount of LTE and 5G capacity each operator has, including the mix of low-band, mid-band and 5G mmWave capacity.

Our Thanks.  We did this study with the support of Rohde and Schwarz (TSMA scanner) as well as Accuver Americas (XCAL5) and Spirent Communications (Umetrix Data).  SRG is fully responsible for the data collection and all analysis and commentary provided in this report.

Our Methodology.  We drove loops around the stadium and the surrounding area while scanning spectrum from 500 MHz to 4 GHz.  Collected information included the number unique cells (PCIs), channel bandwidth, and technology for each operator.  We used 3 S22 smartphones, XCAL5 and Umetrix as a sanity check and to identify instances of 5G mmWave.

The Caveats.  We know all the mmWave sites we detected were in the area we tested.  We are less certain about the other technologies + frequencies, so the results could include a mix of signals from inside the stadium as well as more distant sites that were not in the immediate vicinity of the looming Super Bowl activities.

5G Rules.  For all three operators, we estimate that 5G accounted for more than 75% of their network capacity.  The percentage was lowest for Verizon (77%), thanks to its heavy use of CPRS spectrum, which gave it much higher LTE capacity than its peers.

Mid-band and 5G mmWave.  For AT&T (90%) and T-Mobile (97%), their mid-band 5G assets accounted for at least 90% of their total 5G capacity.  For Verizon, the percentage was only 29%, entirely because of 5G mmWave, which represented 69% of available 5G capacity. We also came across some AT&T mmWave sites.

Doubling Down.  With a recent software update to our Galaxy S22 smartphone, we were able to take advantage of AT&T’s recent addition of a second mid-band 5G carrier (3.45 GHz) to enable carrier aggregation with its other Band n77 assets.  We discuss.