The Las Vegas Sphere kicked off its grand opening on Friday night with a concert by U2. If you don’t already know what the Sphere is, it’s a humongous, round-shaped building gracing the Las Vegas skyline. The venue will host music and other entertainment acts.
The Sphere took four years to build at a cost of $2.3 billion and opened its doors on Friday to as many as 17,500 U2 fans, according to TMZ. U2 hasn’t played live since December 2019, and its gig at the Sphere kicked off a 2 ½ month Las Vegas residency for the band.
That’s all cool, but apparently only the fans with Verizon as their service provider had decent coverage for their smartphones.
Lindsay Kirk attended the U2 concert on Friday with her husband, and they both have AT&T service. She told Fierce Wireless, “We had seats in the 400s, so we had to enter through the bridge. Service was spotty on the bridge, and I had trouble sending a photo. Once inside, all service was pretty much gone. My Android maintained capability for emergency calls, but my husband’s iPhone didn’t even have emergency service.”
Kirk said she noticed other people struggling with their phone settings as well. She did note that the Sphere offered free Wi-Fi, which she switched to. But her husband’s iPhone wouldn’t stay connected to the Wi-Fi. It was an unfortunate situation for people who paid big bucks for a concert and wanted to take photos and videos to send to their friends and post on social media.
Verizon Business CEO Kyle Malady said last week at a tradeshow in Las Vegas that Verizon had worked with JMA Wireless to sign onto the distributed antenna system (DAS) within the Sphere. But he didn’t think the other two major providers — AT&T and T-Mobile — had also signed on.
Fierce Wireless contacted AT&T, T-Mobile and the Sphere Entertainment Company to inquire about wireless coverage in the venue, but none of the companies have responded.
Verizon provided the below picture, showing a test of coverage at the Sphere.
Verizon said on Friday that its engineers “have been working obsessively to provide customers an exceptional experience with a highly complex and sophisticated in-building network, providing exceptional performance for fans to capture and share every important moment of their experience.”
Verizon’s network at the Sphere provides coverage and capacity for 4G and 5G service using its C-band spectrum. The company recently said it has dedicated 160 MHz of C-Band spectrum, nearly tripling the 5G bandwidth in Las Vegas available to serve customers.
At the Sphere, JMA Wireless built the distributed antenna system (DAS). Antennas from overhead, under seats and ground-units provide the wireless coverage and capacity for visitors.