PHILADELPHIA -- Over the course of Pope Francis's historic visit to the United States, countless calls, texts, photos, videos and social media updates were captured and shared over mobile technology thanks to the strength and reliability of Verizon's wireless network.
Throughout the Pope's six-day tour, with stops in Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, Verizon's wireless network delivered exceptional performance, even during the most densely crowded events such as the Papal Mass for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
"Network strength and reliability are particularly important during large-scale events, and we're proud of our network's performance during Pope Francis's historic visit," said Dave Heverling, Northeast Area Vice President of Network for Verizon Wireless. "All of our preparations and enhancements paid off as our network enabled attendees to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with their friends and family seamlessly."
In Washington DC, Verizon saw network traffic up to ten times normal levels. In New York, network traffic reached six times normal levels. And in Philadelphia during Saturday night's World Meeting of Families event on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – attended by more than 200,000 people – and Sunday's Papal Mass – attended by more than 850,000 people – Verizon's network handled nearly 12 times the normal amount of network traffic. On-the-ground testing by Verizon network engineers demonstrated the company's network performance equaled and generally exceeded that of other networks in all three cities.
Network preparations for the Pope's visit began nearly 18 months ago. Verizon leveraged past experiences with large events – from presidential inaugurations to the Super Bowl to the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square – to plan for the large crowds and their anticipated mobile usage.
Verizon invested more than $30 million in these three cities increase its network capacity, installing new cell sites, adding capacity to existing sites, installing mini-cells, and in Philadelphia, adding its equipment to a newly installed distributed antenna system (DAS). All of these infrastructure enhancements are permanent and will help residents and visitors continue to have a fast, reliable network for years to come.
At every stop, in D.C., New York and Philadelphia, mobile cell sites, such as COWs (cells on wheels), were brought in to help ensure a strong and reliable connection.