T-Mobile upgrades LTE coverage in D.C. ahead of presidential inauguration

In anticipation of the large crowds that typically gather at presidential inaugurations, T-Mobile has expanded its 4G LTE coverage in the Washington, D.C. area to accommodate the rise in mobile use during the event.

The data capacity in the area has been permanently increased by 1,000 percent, according to T-Mobile. The move is an example of how even in the modern age of extensive mobile coverage, bandwidth issues are still a concern for mobile providers.

?T-Mobile?s LTE network is already the fastest and most advanced in the US, and it covers more than 99% of the people Verizon covers,? said Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO. ?Now, we?ve juiced our coverage for customers in DC almost 1,000 percent ? permanently! And we did that by rolling out new LTE Advanced technologies ? like 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM ? that the carriers are still just talking about. But, we?re the Un-carrier ? while they talk, we?re hard at work improving the most advanced network!?

Inauguration weekend
While Donald Trump has made no secret about how big he thinks the crowds will be at his inauguration, those claims can be taken with a grain of salt thanks to his penchant for exaggeration.

But no matter what the public opinion may be of the president-elect ? or who he may convince to play at the event ? presidential inaugurations are almost guaranteed to be some of the most widely attended events in Washington, D.C.

This one is likely to be no different, with at least one million expected to crowd around the National Mall.

And as those crowds gather in one place, one issue is on the minds of many mobile and wireless providers ? data use and bandwidth.

At the last inauguration, eight years ago, smartphones were a fairly recent invention.


It had only been two years since the release of the Apple iPhone and the world was just beginning to get used to the idea of smartphones in general.

Now, eight years later, almost everyone has a smartphone with them and uses it constantly.

This provides a much different environment for cell phone usage than at the previous inauguration, and with the popularity of social media, you can be sure that many thousands of those attendees will be filming, streaming and posting what they see through their mobile devices.

LTE coverage
To combat this, T-Mobile is upgrading its 4G LTE coverage of the area where the inauguration will take place.

To do this, it is using a few special tools. For one, it has added new multi-beam antennas to all cell towers.

This move allows T-Mobile to extend its LTE coverage for its entire network.

Additionally, T-Mobile is deploying LTE-enabled cell sites on-wheels (or COWs) to provide a temporary extra boost to coverage on the National Mall.


This move comes a few months after T-Mobile unveiled an ambitious unlimited data plan (see story).

Overall, T-Mobile is attempting to stick to its wireless data coverage as its main selling point, and providing on-site assistance to cell phone users at the inauguration is a smart way of doing it.