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T-Mobile customers get better cell coverage at UB

Girl on cell phone

Published November 11, 2016

By Kenneth Kashif Thomas

T-Mobile subscribers can expect a jump in their coverage in several locations on North Campus, thanks to T-Mobile subscribe to the Verizon Wireless Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Those in Ellicott, Student Union, Knox Hall and Governors may have noticed better T-Mobile service in these buildings.


Kenneth Kashif Thomas (UB Student, Class of 2017) is an Economics major with an interest in Journalism. He is the 2016-17 Senior Features Editor of the UB Spectrum student newspaper.

That is because T-Mobile is the first competitive cell carrier to subscribe to join the Verizon Wireless vendor-neutral DAS system here at UB North Campus. This system is expanded on a yearly basis and is designed to take cellular traffic here at North Campus off local cell service towers. This frees up more bandwidth to be available for the larger surrounding community, while also giving those on UB’s North Campus their own dedicated bandwidth.

"Much like Wi-Fi, the signal goes from your cell phone to the nearest DAS antenna through the DAS cable wiring, as opposed to trying to connect from the nearest cell tower," said James Giardina, Network Analyst for Network and Classroom Services, part of UB Information Technology. "UB buildings are made of reinforced concrete with rebar, which makes it hard for today’s cell signal technology to penetrate."

While the DAS infrastructure has been live and growing each year for about seven years now, T-Mobile is the first non-Verizon carrier to join in order to improve their customers’ service.

"Verizon Wireless first started building the DAS in Ellicott, then moved on to Governors, then followed up with Student Union and Knox Hall," Giardina said. The best part of a vendor-neutral system design is that it allows "T-Mobile to utilize the same physical DAS infrastructure that Verizon Wireless is using at the same time."

The two providers will be working on different cell frequencies on the same DAS system, which will help to improve service coverage and capacity around campus for both cell companies.

The extended service boost will make cell phone service more readily available in high demand locations on the North Campus.

"What good is any device if it doesn’t work when and where you need it?" Giardina said.