AT&T improves service on campus

Per AT&T’s famous promise, Duke students are getting their world delivered a little more clearly.

As part of a $20 billion investment plan, AT&T has taken on local improvements to support mobile broadband growth around college campuses in North Carolina where it has some of its heaviest users. The company has added cellular capacity to seven sites near the University to ensure quality and improve coverage for users, Josh Gelinas, a spokesman for AT&T, said.

“Duke, who has a large student population that is actively using multiple mobile devices, clearly has demonstrated the need for capacity. We’re just trying to meet that demand,” he said.

AT&T is committed to accommodating more customers as the reliance on mobile communication continues to increase, Gelinas said. The increase in capacity makes it possible for areas to accommodate more cellular traffic, improving call quality, mobile broadband and reception.

The company is also increasing volume capacity around Eastern Carolina University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

AT&T and other mobile service providers have been working with the Office of Information Technology to help increase coverage for all mobile device users on campus. Bob Johnson, senior director of OIT’s communications infrastructure and data center services, said OIT is constantly tracking solutions to address the University’s mobile communication needs, especially as technology evolves.

“We continue to investigate improvements necessary to achieve the stronger signals required by smart phones on campus and to accommodate the newer signal spectrums and technologies being adopted by carriers,” Johnson wrote in an email Tuesday.

Despite the collective efforts of AT&T and OIT, Duke student’s opinions of AT&T’s service vary.

“I think it’s alright, but it’s spotty,” Senior Chong Ni said. “I’ve been in phone interviews, and they’ve been cut off.”

Cynthia Marshall, AT&T’s president in North Carolina, said AT&T realizes the important role mobile broadband plays in the lives of students, especially those who use tablets or laptop computers during class. Marshall said that if AT&T’s agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA is approved, the mobile service provider will be able to expand its current coverage of 80 percent of the U.S. population to more than 97 percent.

“That’s why we’re continually investing in our local wireless network, to deliver the most advanced mobile broadband experience,” Marshall said in a news release Aug. 30.

Though the increase in service around campus is still relatively new, AT&T is optimistic about how the new improvements will increase coverage on campus.

“We are continuously monitoring how the network performs,” Gelinas said. “So when we went in and added to the capacity to the sites that we selected, it was done with the belief that it will meet the demand that was there. We are confident that what we put there can handle the demand.”

Sophomore Nicole Daniels said she has noticed a difference in AT&T’s reception since the beginning of the school year, possibly a result of AT&T’s new project.

“So far [the service has] been good,” Daniels said. “At the end of last year—in the last two months—there was very poor reception, and I actually had a dropped call yesterday, but this year it’s been good so far.”


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