Network Coverage for Large Events

What's the best way to attract people to your network and pay money for it's use: Make sure it is available and works where it is needed (and where networks of other operators don't perform as well). This is especially true and challenging in stadiums and other places where tens or even hundreds of thousands of people meet. A couple of days ago I came across this report on Teltarif (Google Translator version here) that describes how a German network operator has built out his network to weather the extreme usage there during events. A follow up article then describes the result.

At first I was a bit surprised that instead of LTE, the network operator chose to build a small cell 3G network in the area. But the reason is probably very simple: While LTE is limited to Internet access, UMTS enables voice calls as well. Another thing I found quite interesting in the second report was that the LTE macro networks of other operators without dedicated coverage of the area were able to cope with the data traffic during the event while 3G macro networks failed to handle the load. It looks like the industry has learned a lot about how to handle data traffic in 3G and has improved on it significantly when LTE was standardized.