End User mobile connectivity

Liverpool Echo Arena mobile capacity #paulmccartney and the French

Went to the last gig of Paul McCartney’s world tour at the Liverpool Echo Arena last night. Ten thousand fifty somethings with the occasional grandchild thrown in for the experience. Old Macca is going strong though at around 70 years old doesn’t quite hit all the high notes with the same strength as he might once have done.

Not complaining. It happens to us all and the die hard fans in the audience didn’t really care. On a boringly technical note what surprised me was the high quality mobile data reception inside the Arena. My mails and tweets were coming in as normal. The signal varied between HSPDA and 3G according to my Samsung Galaxy S2.

I recently met with one of O2’s tech team to discuss stadium communications technology.  This followed on from some posts I wrote re comms surrounding the Olympics in 2012. O2 aren’t involved with the Olympics – BT are the comms sponsors but O2 are world leaders in the provision of connectivity to stadia and it was interesting to see what they have done to improve their customer experience.

I intend to write some more in depth stuff on this at some point soon but the elevator pitch is that traditionally a stadium would have 4 cells/segments serving it “inside the canopy”. To gain maximum coverage mobile operators have also traditionally pointed as many cells from base stations surrounding the venue directly at the stadium.

This sounds ok but the actual experience has been that phones inside the ground get confused, hopping between base stations outside the ground resulting in an overall poor connection. No hope of uploading that photo of the goal for the kids to see online (get them a Sky Sports subscription perhaps?).

By “unpointing” the external cells and adding up to 40 more segments inside the ground the problem of base station hopping goes away or at least ceases to be noticeable.

This may or may not be the setup in the Liverpool Echo Arena – the building is new enough for me to believe that it has the latest and greatest tech. Lets hope they get it right for the Olympics though I imagine that a substantial proportion of the world’s population will be watching the box to see Usain shoot his bolt rather than waiting for that upload to arrive.

It was a great gig. During the evening I saw one of those interesting little cameos play out. I was sat next to a French couple who were quite attentive to each other in the run up to the start of the show. As the night progressed they seemed to have a row centred around something on his mobile phone (some poxy old handset). At one stage I even saw that he was crying. The frustrating thing is I shall never know why. Despite being curious I didn’t want to make it too obvious by rubbernecking! It all had to be noted through the corner of my eye:)

Was it as a result of a message on the phone? Did she say something to him? It didn’t look as if he was overcome with emotion at being at the gig. It could have been news of a bereavement in which case I apologise for trivialising the episode.

In the absence of the concrete facts this will remain one of life’s little mysteries, immortalised now in the aether. You read it first on

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

3 replies on “Liverpool Echo Arena mobile capacity #paulmccartney and the French”

They were good seats by the way and the Davies family has worked out how to get them online during the rush to buy when the sales open. I am prepared to share the secret with you but only through the intimate medium of an email.

Perhaps she was expressing frustration at the fact that he refuses to upgrade his handset… Maybe he’s so attached to it that the prospect of replacing it reduced him to tears!

Some old phones aren’t so bad.

I did for a time swap my trusty Nokia 6700 Classic for first a Blackberry Pearl 9105 (suretype annoyed me somewhat) and latterly an HTC Desire S which sucked its battery dry pretty quickly if you wanted to use it and the signal quality when you wanted to make a call wasn’t great which I put down to the size and location of the antennae in these phones (at the bottom where it rests on my palm)

I also prefer a keypad so will probably go back to a Blackberry but for the moment I’m using my 6700.

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