AT&T teams up with Preds, upgrades wireless network

Telecom giant becomes team's official wireless provider, improves network

UPDATED at 3:15 p.m. with information from afternoon press conference

As part of the new partnership between AT&T, the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena, the arena will become one of only a handful of sports venues with a "distributed antennae system," technology that improves wireless and data connectivity inside buildings with a high-demand. The technology is already in place at, for example, the $1 billion Cowboys Stadium in the Dallas Metroplex.

Put simply, DAS makes connecting to the internet and phone grid far easier.

"The next level of coverage is 'in-building' coverage," said Jim Thorpe, AT&T's vice president and general manager for mobility and consumer markets in Tennessee and Kentucky. "We're going to make sure customers can use their devices anywhere."

A full installation of the infrastructure is coming soon, though some portions of the DAS technology are already in place. Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said, ultimately, the multi-year deal will allow for a wide range of technological advances at the Fifth and Broadway facility — including a ticketing system that utilizes smartphones and in-seat concession ordering.

Speaking more widely than just one corner of downtown, AT&T says it's taking steps to fully implement 4G coverage in Middle Tennessee and has made significant improvements to its wireless network. Coverage should further improve once the company's acquisition of T-Mobile is complete.

 

As originally reported:

AT&T is set to become the offical wireless partner of the Nashville Predators and announce major improvements to its cellular service.

At an afternoon press conference at Bridgestone Arena, the hockey team and the telecom giant will announce a new partnership.

AT&T will serve as the exclusive wireless provider of the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena, and additionally, AT&T has enhanced the amount of wireless voice and data traffic that the network is able to handle at large capacity gatherings, such as NHL and NCAA games, where demand on the network is at its peak.

AT&T will also announce network improvement plans designed to enable 4G speeds and enhanced reliability to Nashville and surrounding communities in 2011, including installing a distributed antenna system (DAS) in Bridgestone Arena.

The DAS system should provide better data and cell coverage downtown.

AT&T has invested more than $550 million in its Nashville and surrounding communities wireless and wireline network from 2008 through 2010.

AT&T will also announce other major technology improvements for the Nashville area.