AT&T Super Bowl Mobile Traffic Surged 80% Over Last Year

The Super Bowl power failure, which appeared to recharge the San Francisco 49ers offense in the second half, also led to a record surge in mobile traffic for AT&T Inc., the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. New York time, a span covering the halftime show and the power disruption during the Feb. 3 game, customers used 78 gigabytes of data inside the New Orleans Superdome, AT&T said yesterday. That was almost double the peak volume of last year’s Super Bowl and the most ever for an in-stadium championship game.

While the burst of data use was aided by the blackout, it’s consistent with the surge in data traffic AT&T is contending with as its customers snap up more smartphones. Data traffic has doubled every year since 2007, the company said a year ago.

According to estimates provided by AT&T’s online data-use calculator, 78 gigabytes would equal about 234,000 social-media posts with photos or more than 10 straight days of streaming, high-definition video. The stadium held 71,024 fans, according to the National Football League.

Total data traffic for the game, as people texted, posted to Twitter, e-mailed and uploaded photos, was 388 gigabytes, also a record and 80 percent higher than the 2012 Super Bowl, said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman. There were also 73,000 mobile-phone calls during the game, he said.

About half of the Superdome’s lights went out in the power failure, which occurred just after the resumption of play in the championship football game’s second half. The Ravens had extended their lead to 28-6 before the blackout and struggled to fend off a comeback from the 49ers, preserving a 34-31 victory in the final seconds.

Torod Neptune, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and voice messages seeking the carrier’s traffic figures for the game.

AT&T rose less than 1 percent to $35.53 at 9:59 a.m. in New York. The shares had climbed 4.5 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 4.9 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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