AT&T is now the third wireless provider to use an antenna at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City that improves service during crowded events like Thunder games, and Sprint could be next.
AT&T went live on the arena's multicarrier distributed access system this month, helping to boost service for its wireless customers, said Tom Anderson, Oklahoma City's special projects manager.
Some AT&T customers have also noticed improved service since the company began using the antenna, but there could be more changes in the future.
“We are tied into the Chesapeake arena antenna system and are still working on the additional system needs necessary to provide a high level of service to our customers,” local AT&T spokesman Charlie Price said.
Anderson said more possible improvements are being studied by the city as well.
Wireless carriers pay about $24,000 annually to access the $105,000 antenna, included in the $93.1 million in ongoing renovations at the city-owned arena. Carriers also pay a $6,000 startup fee.
U.S. Cellular became the first wireless provider to use the antenna in December, followed soon thereafter by Verizon. Representatives of both companies have said their customers are enjoying improved service at the arena during Thunder games.
Sprint and T-Mobile are the only major wireless carriers who aren't yet using the antenna. A T-Mobile spokesman said its customers haven't reported problems with the signal in the arena and the company has no plans to hook up to the city's antenna.
But Sprint, an official NBA sponsor, is kicking the tires.
“We are definitely looking at it,” area Sprint spokesman Tom Cook said. “We have a site walk this week scheduled.”