The saga of poor cell phone service in South End has finally come to an end.
Driving the news: Verizon has installed two cells, small pieces of equipment that sit stop buildings and light poles that are supposed to improve service. The company plans to add more in South End over the next three to six months, Eric Lia, Verizon’s VP of engineering and operations tells Axios.
- The new cells are part of a multi-year redesign of its network across Charlotte.
Details: Adding more cells increases the bandwidth for service and provides more coverage. The goal is for cells to blend into the neighborhood. Cells are usually about the size of a backpack.
Why it matters: One of Charlotte’s busiest neighborhoods is no longer the Bermuda Triangle of cell phone service.
Context: South End’s cell phone service has been problematic for years, particularly between East Park Avenue and Camden Road East Tremont Avenue.
- South End CLT, a branch of Charlotte Center City Partners, addressed the issue on its website’s FAQs section, with ways to contact carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint.
- The unreliability of service in the area has been both a nuisance and a safety concern for years.
Zoom out: Verizon spent billions in 2021 at a federal government auction to buy the airwaves licenses called C-band, as Axios previously reported.
- Verizon was restricted to using only 60 MHz until this year. Now they’ll be able to use 150 MHz by the end of the year, Lia says.
- He equates the airwaves to lanes on a highway. The more lanes you have, the faster you’ll be able to go, per Lia.
My thought bubble: As I walked along Camden Road and around the Design Center and Hawkins Street in South End last week, at no point did my phone say “no service,” which is a big improvement. While I had fewer bars around the 1700 block on Camden Road, my phone still sent and received texts like the ones below.