KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizers expect over 300,000 people to be in Kansas City next week for the 2023 NFL Draft, and that means cell phones might run a little slow downtown.
But multiple cell phone carriers are taking steps to help.
T-Mobile is ready to support the influx of people coming to Union Station and the National WWI Museum and Memorial for the NFL Draft.
Over the last few months, T-Mobile has been working to boost its coverage in downtown Kansas City — not just for the draft, but permanently.
The carrier installed both temporary and permanent network structures before the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade in February. Since then, engineers have been working to build on that support and better enhance coverage for the NFL Draft.
“Some of the challenges we face when we have this large of a crowd, everyone wants to be able to connect and use their phone just like they’re at home or at work or at play,” said Russell Pope, senior manager with T-Mobile Engineering Deployment.
“With all these permanent solutions and these temporary solutions that we’ve added, we’re very confident that our customers at T-Mobile will be able to come in here and enjoy a great day and be able to do everything they want to do with their 5G device.”
Cell phone carrier Verizon also announced back in February that it has made major network upgrades in Kansas City this year to support the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run and the NFL Draft.
“The biggest upgrade for residents and visitors in Kansas City is 5G Ultra Wideband technology, which engineers have added to 75% of the cell sites serving the market,” Verizon said in a release.
Verizon will also set up temporary cell sites with 5G Ultra Wideband coverage for the NFL Draft site.
The company also added four new macro cell sites around the city, plus a permanent in-building solution at the WWI Memorial and a temporary set-up at Union Station for more coverage.
AT&T says its 5G+ service now covers about 70% of the Kansas City area.
The carrier also added additional equipment to help boost service inside the new KCI Airport Terminal, the WWI Museum, KC Live at the Power and Light District, and inside several Kansas City casinos.
AT&T is adding two portable towers inside Union Station to help with reception during the 2023 NFL Draft.
The company also says its outdoor system at Azura Amphitheater is ready for thousands of fans to stream and post on social media while attending Kelce Jam on April. 28.