Verizon planned to have 50 employees, mostly engineers, in a command centre near Las Vegas, Nevada in preparation for the National Football League’s Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on 11 February, which marks the final measure of a two-year effort to prep for the game.
For security reasons, the operator does not disclose the location of its command centre in Las Vegas, but it is in a suburb of the city.
David Nelson, senior director of operations for Verizon, told Mobile World Live staff at the centre would include employees from across the US and members from his team who are typically in the field.
Allegiant Stadium holds up to 65,000 fans but Nelson said the centre would monitor network usage across the concourse areas of the stadium, the parking areas, nearby special event locations and when fans use their phones to make payments.
“We’ve created dashboards and other tools so we can monitor what’s going on in the system in very close to real time,” Nelson explained. “We can look at the traffic. We can look at performance and we can look at all those KPIs to make real time adjustments to make sure that we give the customers the best experience possible.”
By pulling in the top network engineers from around the nation, Nelson said he can go over and talk directly to a person if there is a network issue or an indication a problem is about to occur.
“We’re not only looking for outages, but we’re also looking for traffic patterns and congestion on the network,” he noted. “We’ve built a rich spectrum portfolio so we’re able to shift the traffic around not only within a cell site to different frequencies or different spectrum, but we’re also able to ship traffic from one cell to another cell site to optimise the customer experience.”
The command centre has a bridge to the same type of facility in Phoenix, Arizona, which was near the location of the Super Bowl event in 2023.
In the event of a manmade or natural disaster, Nelson said the engineers at the Phoenix site have the ability to take over the entire operation “without missing a heartbeat”.
Nelson’s team prepared for the Super Bowl by conducting dry runs during Las Vegas Raiders’ NFL home games at Allegiant Stadium, as well as during college football games and other events.
“We also took the lessons learned from Phoenix, and rolled them into Las Vegas,” Nelson said. “We’ve drilled and practiced through all those dry runs so that we can have a good Super Bowl.”
Verizon was granted early access to its C-Band spectrum in 2023, which means there is even more bandwidth and higher data speeds available in Las Vegas than Phoenix.
All told, the operator has deployed approximately 250 5G mmWave radios covering the stadium’s seating areas, back of house, suites, lounges, press box, concourse areas and entryways.
Over the past three years, Verizon nearly tripled its network capacity across Las Vegas and laid 547 miles of fibre across the city.
Verizon is not the only game in town, as rivals AT&T and T-Mobile US also provide 5G services in Las Vegas while cable operator Cox Communications provisions Wi-Fi inside of the stadium.