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Replying to:  Really? Is cell phone useage REALLY blocked at NASCAR Events? by Airwar   Jul 18, 2004, 4:19 AM

Re: Really? Is cell phone useage REALLY blocked at NASCAR Events?

by SPCSVZWJeff    Jul 18, 2004, 11:24 PM

Call blocking refers to wireless networks being too overloaded and rejecting calls.
At a Nascar event where there are often over 100,000 people concentrated on 1 or 2 cellsites, it is very easy to use all of a cell site's capacity regardless of the technology.

What the customer experiences is a "fast busy" tone and they must retry their call. Usually it is only a matter of one more attempt but it could be a matter of several frustrating attempts. The customer usually doesn't know any thing is wrong and assumes the line they are calling is busy.
A great wireless network blocks less than 1/4 of 1 percent of the total calls. A poor network blocks as high as 5-10% of the calls. Most networks are between 1-5% of all calls blocked.

Cingular's answer to capacity issues is to go to UMTS which will really drop their blocking drastically. I don't have their call blocking numbers so I can't say what they are but it is one of many issues that led them to consider the GSM/UMTS upgrade. TDMA networks are notorious for call blocking because of their limited bandwidth. If you can't fit the customers on the network then you cannot grow.

Companies like Cricket who give unlimited minutes experience high blocking even with a 1X network. When you tell people they can talk as much as they want for one price they will take you up on it.

Pimp, I got my information about Nascar events in a wireless forum similar to this one. I think it was Howard Chou.
I worked for a wireless carrier in the NW when the Seattle earthquake occurred. ATTWS TDMA blocked all calls as far away as 125 miles within 2 minutes. After the landline switch blocked VZW, Sprint and USCC customers could still talk mobile to mobile. My information is that I lived it. ATTWS customers were able to use my CDMA phone to make calls (I was in a grocery store at the time of the quake)

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