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Tuscaloosa ramps up cell coverage

Brett Saunders

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In the next few weeks, Verizon Wireless customers in Tuscaloosa will have access to the company’s 4G LTE network.

AT&T brought 4G to their customers living in areas of Alabama, including Tuscaloosa.

“We’ve significantly ramped up our wireless investments to enable an experience that offers Alabama consumers better speed, better reliability and better availability,” said Fred McCallum, president of AT&T Alabama.

Since the statement made by McCallum in April of 2011, AT&T has been able to bring about 60 new cell sites to improve network coverage and have added 4G capability to 525 already existing cell sites for improved 4G speed. However, students who use Verizon instead of AT&T find it easier to have cell phone connection during peak times of football games.

“I can actually talk to people,” said Allison Witmer, a freshman Verizon customer. “A lot of my friends turn their phones off because they are useless on game days.”

The difference between the coming months for Verizon Wireless and AT&T is the arrival of 4G LTE in both the Tuscaloosa and Auburn areas from Verizon.  AT&T has not yet voiced an arrival date for the 4G LTE network ability for Tuscaloosa.

“With 4G LTE, you now have that type of experience in a mobile environment wherever you want to go,” said Steve Leonard, Verizon’s regional data director.

“This new technology will benefit not only residents of Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama students, but also the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the campus every year,” said Jonathan LeCompte, president of the Alabama and Georgia Verizon Wireless region. “As we continue to expand 4G LTE across the state, it is revolutionizing the way Alabamians communicate.”

Verizon Wireless hopes to have their 4G LTE, in both the Tuscaloosa and Auburn areas, running within the coming weeks. Bryant-Denny Stadium will be included in the improvement to 4G LTE, with the antennas currently under construction.

“This is our fastest deployment yet. We see that our customers want this type of service and these speeds,” Leonard said.

AT&T plans to implement more antennas in Bryant-Denny stadium to work with the amount of people who attempt to use the network during game days and to lower the amount of dropped calls and delays. The provider also plans to add to the capacity of data distributed in the Tuscaloosa area.

“In Tuscaloosa, building our capacity has been job one, and that will continue. We do this on existing cell towers by installing more antennas, sets of electronics and upgrading hardware,” said AT&T spokeswoman Sue Sperry.

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Tuscaloosa ramps up cell coverage