Verizon, AT&T prepare for Super Bowl 50 crowds in San Francisco

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Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on Super Bowl City in San Francisco net week. Here's a look at what's been done to prepare for the masses and their devices. (KGO-TV)

A giant banner now hangs on San Francisco's Ferry Building, welcoming fans to Super Bowl City. On the streets below, everything from concert stages to food booths are being set up. And next week, tens of thousands of people will descend on Super Bowl City, with most glued to their smartphones. We know from experience that reception can be tricky when that many people come to town. Here's a look at what's been done to prepare for the masses and their devices.

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Fans at a parade trying to share content on their smartphones often have unintended consequences.

Enter Super Bowl 50.

"There are a lot of people and you can't get through," said Oakland resident Judy Vasquez. "You can't make phone calls, you can't text, so I don't think it's going to work out here."

Concord resident Robert Krout adds, "I'm hoping it gets better. I would hope that they are going to make changes in order for it to improve."

But Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all say it's a new era in cellular capacity.

Phillip French with Verizon's network field engineering talked to ABC7 News about what covered will be like in Super Bowl City and its surroundings, "We've designed this network to handle three times the capacity of a normal event like a parade."

Verizon's "cell on wheels" known as "COW" will be able to handle 1,000 users simultaneously. They have seven of these. All three carriers have this technology next to the live stage where people are expected to stream concerts.

RELATED: Super Bowl 50 Bay Area events schedule

"We expect during the concert series that a lot of customers will gather and this is the sharing network and we want to make sure our customers no matter what is going on have the ability to share the experience in real time," French said.

Verizon spent $70 million over two years upgrading the system. AT&T spent $25 million. Each have dozens of small cells and hidden antennas throughout the area to ensure their networks are ready. They are now permanent fixtures for residents to enjoy even after the Super Bowl.

Click here for full coverage on Super Bowl 50.
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technologySuper Bowl 50Super Bowlnflsportstourismtouristu.s. & worldeventsbay area eventsverizonAT&TsprintcellphonesmartphonesSan FranciscoFinancial DistrictEmbarcaderoMoscone Center
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