Will my cell phone work?by Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
Will my cell phone work in and around the Xcel Energy Center during the Republican National Convention?
St. Paul, Minn. — The short answer is: yes.
At the Xcel Energy Center, delegates, journalists and other convention attendees will expect their cell phone calls, text and video messages and wireless Web browsing to be flawless and fast.
The major wireless carriers -- Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile -- insist they'll meet those expectations, and keep local folks happy, too.
No Minnesotans should have any problem using their cell phones because of the convention.
The carriers have been spending millions of dollars to boost the capacity of their voice and data networks around the Xcel and at other convention hot spots.
Verizon spokeswoman Karen Smith says her firm is really beefing up its local network, adding a lot more horsepower.
"We brought in our COWS and COLTS to join the elephant at the party," she said.
That's COW, as in "cellular on wheels," and COLT, as in "cellular on light truck."
Smith says these temporary, portable cell sites will help boost Verizon's data transmission capacity at the Xcel by 150 percent. Voice capacity will increase by 33 percent.
Other carriers have been spiffing up their networks, too.
AT&T Wireless will also have several temporary cell sites deployed, and more in reserve.
Dave Fine, AT&T Wireless general manager for Minnesota, says his company is ready to meet any service challenge that arises.
"For this convention, we'll have a war room set up that will monitor and report our statistics out," Fine said. "And if we need to make a shift and add capacity, we'll be able to do that on the fly."
Hopefully, with no service issues to get them down, convention-goers can focus on important matters, like getting convention-themed ring tones, music or sound bites for their cell phones.
For instance, John McCain's "My friends, my friends, my friends, my friends."
And this one from Hillary Clinton: "Shame on you, Barack Obama."
Those audio clips are available at slate.com.