I go to a lot of concerts. Generally one or more per month. While some stadiums in and around the metro NYC area (read: the ones in NJ) have beefed up wireless coverage, many venues continue to totally suck with respect to providing solid access.
Last night, for example, I saw Chris Cornell at the Beacon Theater in NYC. (Great show, by the way. Awesome collection of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and Chris’s solo stuff.) Standing just outside the doors to the theater, which is an old-school, opera-house type place, I had great coverage on the two phones I had with me. One was Verizon, the other AT&T. I was able to make and receive with both phones no problem-o.
Once I walked inside, though, coverage on my Verizon phone began to waffle between one bar and no bars. The AT&T phone dropped down to 3 bars. During the course of the evening, I attempted to make several calls with my Verizon handset. Fully 50% of the calls failed to go through at all. Those that did, lasted a mere 10 seconds before being disconnected or dropped. Even though the AT&T phone had more signal strength, it fared no better. I tried making several calls with it. Only one connected at all, and was dropped as soon as I got the word “Hello” out of my mouth.
Data services, such as SMS, fared a bit better. There was a slight delay in sending a receiving messages, but they all did eventually get through.
I understand the limitations of cell towers with respect to how many calls can be handled at any given moment. Ditto for the fact that places in NYC are often old buildings with some dense-ass materials blocking signals. But places that regularly host large groups of people (theaters, stadiums, etc.) should work with the cellular operators to make sure that their customers are adequately served while attending events in those venues. Is it really that expensive/difficult to add capacity? C’mon guys.