US cell phone companies prepare for Pope’s visit

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Cell phone operators in Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia are spending several million dollars to ensure full coverage to Pope Francis’s visit later this week.

Verizon has spent $24 million to quadruple network coverage for Philadelphia’s Papal Mass, while AT&T spent $23 million and will also quadruple its network capacity.

In addition to established cellular infrastructure, mobile operators also plan to use the big carriers, a temporary base station that network operators roll into town for sporting events, music festivals and papal visits.

These base stations will have extra Wi-Fi hotspots and small cells located around the buildings. The Wi-Fi helps to offload some of the intense video streaming from the cellular network.

Comcast, the nation’s largest broadband company with corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, is also boosting the network for the pope’s service.

Pope’s visit to Philadelphia is entitled as the World Meeting of Families. The organizers of the event themselves have plans to put up 31 Jumbotron’s around town, and Comcast will add Wi-Fi hot spots to them.

Comcast Xfinity customers can use that Wi-Fi network for free while others can buy a day pass for $7.95.

The Papal Mass is expected to be attended by nearly 2 million people. Mobile operator Sprint has also added new cell sites, while T-Mobile said that it has added capacity at its regular sites.

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