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Holy Moly! Pope's Visit Pops Data CapsHoly Moly! Pope's Visit Pops Data Caps

The papal visit to the US elevated network usage way above normal levels for AT&T and Verizon, and blasted through terabytes of mobile data.

Dan Jones

September 28, 2015

1 Min Read
Holy Moly! Pope's Visit Pops Data Caps

The pope's visit to the US last week elevated mobile network usage way beyond normal levels and burned through many terabytes of data, as spectators bombarded social media with pictures and videos of the Pontiff, major carriers report.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) tells Light Reading that during the pope's visit to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia, total data usage on its mobile network was 12.5TB. This is equivalent to 36 million individual social media posts with photos, a spokesman for AT&T says.

AT&T network usage in Philly during the visit was about 7.5 times above that experienced at the Phoenix stadium during this year's Super Bowl.

Verizon Wireless says that traffic was ten times normal levels in Washington D.C. for the start of the pope's visit. In New York, network traffic reached six times normal levels. In Philadelphia, Verizon's mobile network carried nearly 12 times the normal load.

For more on LTE, visit the 4G LTE section here on Light Reading. "On-the-ground testing by Verizon network engineers demonstrated the company's network performance equaled and generally exceeded that of other networks in all three cities," Verizon said in a statement. Major US operators spent millions prepping for the pope's visit. Verizon, for instance, says it spent nearly 18 months and $30 million getting ready for a few days of Francis. (See Pope's Visit Could Cause Papal Data Jam for more.) — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor and Papal Affairs Correspondent, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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