On Wi-Fi Day, a Warning: Find Wi-Fi if You Want Sports on Your Phone

Attention, mobile sports fans: If you are thinking of watching a game anytime soon on your portable device, be prepared to find yourself some Wi-Fi — or get ready to pay Peyton Manning-like dough to stay connected.

Since today is officially “Wi-Fi Day” since the numerical date, 8-02-11 neatly corresponds with the IEEE designation for the Wi-Fi protocol (802.11) it’s a good time as any to start thinking about where you might be able to find a Wi-Fi connection for when you want to watch sports, especially live video, on your phone, pad or laptop. Why? Because the nation’s two biggest cellular carriers, AT&T and Verizon, have recently made it loud and clear that heavy users of wireless data will be forced to pay more for the service the more they use, and may even face data-download slowdowns if they use their phones too much.

AT&T this week let it be known that even those users who still have so-called “unlimited” data plans may see their cellular connections slowed down if Ma Bell decides you are using too much data. And Verizon’s new CEO spent part of the company’s most recent earnings call talking about how “tiered” data plans are inevitable and that cell phone users need to get used to a future where every bit is counted and charged for.

The good news is that both AT&T and Verizon are busy trying to set up free public Wi-Fi networks, especially at major sporting arenas, to help ease the cellular crush being caused by stadiums full of fans snapping pictures and sharing videos from their phones. The alternative is to find a Starbuck’s or other friendly eating establishment where you might be able to use a local Wi-Fi connection to get the bandwidth you’ll need to watch sports live on your phone for longer than a few minutes.

And if you are dead set on using your phone or tablet to watch sporting events via a cellular connection, now might be a good time to take a look at what Sprint has to offer, since as of this writing the No. 3 cellular carrier in the country is the only one still offering truly unlimited data plans for its new, faster 4G network.

We’ll have more on this topic soon but in the meantime it might not be a bad idea to take a look at Wi-Fi aggregators like iPass or Boingo to see if your corporate communications needs can sync up with your desire to stay connected with your favorite team.


  1. huh…..

    I hope this is true. To be honest when I’m at Candlestick Stadium I get no phone service &/Or Internet service whatsoever. And they have a Wi-Fi hot spot in the stadium I’m sure. The same thing happens to me at Oracle arena during Warriors games as well. I can never get a constant strong signal.

    I’m sure though with the new upgrades to phone devices this problem becomes a thing of the past. In all fairness though too, I must admit, I have an iPhone 3G phone, which in today’s technological world is considered prehistoric.

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