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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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T-Mobile invests $3.5 Million in Kyle Field

Kyle+Field
Kyle Field

A $3.5 million deal announced last week will bring T-Mobile into Kyle Field to improve gameday connectivity for the company’s customers.
As part of Kyle Field’s overhaul, which began in 2014, a new wireless and cellular infrastructure fell into place. Now, T-Mobile joins AT&T and Verizon in their investment into the Corning1 network, which provides cellular service and Wi-Fi to gameday fans.
Phillip Ray, vice chancellor of business affairs for the Texas A&M system, said A&M put the original investment into the infrastructure, and the carriers’ investments offset the A&M spending.
“We’re approaching $14 million in this type of budget offset alone, made possible through major carrier partnerships like these,” Ray said. “With T-Mobile now fully on-board, Sprint is the sole major carrier remaining to add going forward.”
Ray said he is optimistic about getting Sprint involved soon based on the performance of the system.
“Once the system started working and carriers as well as industry professionals could see that it was exceeding projected performance we were able to get them signed on,” Ray said. “Our strategic outlook was we’ll prove the system works first and, as a result, we will then be able to optimize the investment value to Texas A&M University — which is exactly what we were able to do.”
Todd Christner, director of market development for Corning1, said the system uses fiber based system to provide a large number of connection points for users, increasing the total load the whole system can handle.
“Texas A&M and Chancellor Sharp have done it from a wholistic perspective,” Christner said. “You have a single fan who’s got to engage with each of those services, Wi-Fi, ticketing, point of sale. So, rather than build out separate infrastructures and separate systems for each and they chose our product because it was fiber and it converged all of it networks through separate fibers onto a single architecture.”
Ray said so far the system has exceeded expectations and even managed to break a record last October, with more than 8.2 Terabytes of data usage. Additionally, Ray said the stadium is well prepared to accept further advances in technology.
“We’re already hardwired via our fiber for the unexpected,” Ray said. “Not only do we believe we have the most advanced stadium in the country, but we are also the best prepared to maintain that in the future. This is the prototype that other collegiate as well as professional venues are now emulating.”
Christner said while the data number was exciting, he was much more enthusiastic about the increasing “take rate” — of the number of unique users who can get onto the Kyle Field system.
“The take rate number at Texas A&M has steadily climbed since the first game, we came out of the chute right at 32 percent and at the last game we were at a 40 percent take rate and we have not seen that taper off,” Christner said. “And the way we designed the system was to be able to support large numbers of people getting onto the Wi-Fi with sustained bandwidth for all of them.”
In a press release last week, Texas A&M Chancellor, John Sharp said he was excited to have T-Mobile involved.
“I am glad to add T-Mobile to our team of providing speedy and reliable service at Kyle Field,” Sharp said. “Now, even more of our faithful fans in the stadium will be able to tap into a powerful network and easily send out great news about Aggie football.”
Ray said the system has continued to be tweaked and improved as time passes and continues to impress professionals across the country.
“When we talk about the system and [industry professionals] come out and test the system, it’s not a beauty contest,” Ray said. “They run tests, we show them the cables, we show them the system, we show them the closets, and it blows their mind.”

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