We’d heard this project was underway but now it’s official: AT&T and Aruba Networks are the forces behind a new Wi-Fi network at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, a 21,000-seat facility that is home to the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA and the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
According to an AT&T press release put out today the new Wi-Fi network will have 315 access points, bringing more connectivity to the AT&T DAS that has already been in place at the arena since 2012. For AT&T customers the network should be fairly simple since the company is supporting automatic authentication, which means no logins or setup screens. Fans who have phones from competing providers will also be able to use the network for free, after visiting a login page.
We haven’t yet been able to talk to AT&T folks or the IT department at the arena, but look for a Stadium Tech Report in the near future. We do know from reporting on our upcoming quarterly long-form Stadium Tech Report that the people running the arena weren’t making any small plans, so it will be interesting to hear about the breadth and depth of the deployment. From a business perspective it’s a big win for Aruba, especially since pairing with AT&T could lead to more stadium deals down the road.
It’s also always interesting to hear about AT&T getting behind a Wi-Fi deployment, since the company can often seem of two minds about Wi-Fi in stadiums. From the sounds of it, this is one of those “big name” deals where AT&T likes to get involved from the bottom up — and since it’s in AT&T’s home turf it makes sense that AT&T would want a big part in any wireless deployment close to its corporate offices. Here’s a quote from the press release:
“Providing Wi-Fi at premier venues like American Airlines Center is part of our strategy to mobilize everything for our customers,” said Aaron Coleman, AVP, AT&T Wi-Fi Solutions, in the AT&T press release. “By working with stadium venues to strategically design and deploy an in-stadium network we can satisfy the connectivity demands of the business and enhance the way teams and venues engage with their fans.”
As we said, we hope to have more details soon so stay tuned.