Press release

Mobile Network Performance Discourages Social Media Activity at Coachella

Sponsored by Businesswire

Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) evaluated mobile network performance
while rocking out at the fifth
largest music festival in the world
, Coachella. In particular, GWS
network test specialists measured how well the mobile networks managed
the surge in connectivity and social media traffic from the 750,000
estimated music fans that attended this popular event in Indio,

In terms of overall performance during the festival, mobile networks
posted a OneScore of 38 – the equivalent of an F; which is also the
lowest scoring performance for large events tested so far this year. GWS
Event-O-Meter also recently recorded OneScores of 76 at last week’s
Boston Marathon, 87 and 70 at MLB’s Opening Day at Nationals Park and
Yankee Stadium respectively, 66 for last month’s Mardi Gras in New
Orleans, and 77 for New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

“It appears that operators did not deploy enough temporary equipment to
manage the enormous increase in data traffic during the festival; as a
result, attendees probably spent more time simply watching and listening
to their favorite artists rather than posting about it on social media,”
said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO and founder of Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.
(GWS). “There are many considerations that network operators likely
contemplate before investing in this once-a-year event. While there are
massive crowds, they do quickly disappear from the polo grounds once the
grand finale is over on Sunday night. Striking the right balance between
available capacity, temporary vs. permanent infrastructure costs, and
happy customers can be extremely challenging at these types of events.
While this event received a very low mobile performance score because
social media activities were constrained, the networks did ensure that
essential services, voice calling and texting, were generally available.”

This report marks the fifth GWS Event-O-Meter for 2019, a measure of
network performance at popular events nationwide and a barometer for how
American consumers experience wireless connectivity when networks are
trying to accommodate heavy traffic. The GWS Event-O-Meter is based on
the company’s OneScore evaluation process, a measurement of overall
performance that takes into account voice, data, video, coverage, and
reliability metrics based on customer experience.

Event-O-Meter Key Findings at 2019 Coachella Valley Music & Arts

GWS performed three days of testing throughout the Empire Polo Club
where Coachella was held including all areas where artists performed, as
well as art installation locations, VIP lounges, main entrance and
Ferris wheel area, and food, beverage and market areas. The mobile
networks scored a 38 out of 100 for overall performance at this popular

GWS results also revealed the following while testing:

  • 93 percent of voice calls were completed successfully.
  • Data-related tasks, like web browsing and uploading posts to social
    media, saw success rates of 88 percent (to put this into perspective,
    GWS testing specialists normally see reliability rates at large events
    above 95% for both voice and data related activities).
  • Video uploads took a grueling 48 seconds (over 4 times slower than
    what revelers experienced in Times Square on New Year’s Eve).
  • Photos and selfie uploads took an equally painful 23 seconds (not much
    fun if you’re trying to watch your favorite band on Coachella’s main
    stage and make sure your Instagram uploaded).

The volume of network traffic appears to have overwhelmed the available
resources at Coachella; however, GWS did see that all network operators
deployed some level of advanced features such as two, three, and four
channel carrier aggregation as well as 256QAM (a higher order advanced
modulation technique). These features are becoming the norm in networks
across the U.S. as GWS also saw a reasonably high rate of voice over LTE
(VoLTE) calling (96% and above) and some usage of LTE multiplexing
techniques (i.e., 2×2 and 4×4 multiple-input and multiple-output)
particularly with 2×2 MIMO. Perhaps most notable amongst the operators
was Verizon’s high usage of 3 and 4 channel CA and Sprint’s high usage
of 2×2 MIMO.


From April 19th to the 21st 2019, GWS network
testing specialists collected throughout the Empire Polo Club (site of
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival) including areas around stages
(during artist performances), art installation and theatre areas, Indio
Central Market, VIP locations, food and beverage gardens, and the main
entrance and Ferris wheel area. SwissQual QualiPoc on Samsung Galaxy S9
collection devices were used to measure the performance of the Tier 1
mobile networks. Nearly 14,000 voice and data samples were collected and
compiled into a single OneScore, resulting in a combined overall event
experience measurement on a scale from 0-100.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Global Wireless
Solutions has set the industry standard for network benchmarking,
analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines
high-level network testing data with real-world network usage scenarios
to make the results of testing relatable and easy to understand. Working
with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers
high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of
benchmarking products, services and OneMeasure diagnostic apps that
include drive, venue and in-building testing. At last count, GWS has
driven 12 million data collection miles for its customers. For more
information, visit
and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.