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United Center, AT&T show off boosted cellular, data system

Updated: February 12, 2013 2:46PM

The next time AT&T mobile customers are at the United Center and want their friends to know it, they’ll likely have a much easier time getting their message through.

On Thursday, United Center and AT&T showed off a new 4G LTE-capable antenna system. The boosted Wi-Fi, data and cellular system is meant to make the “fan experience” more interactive, said Steve Schulze, chief information officer for United Center.

“We want our fans in the seats to be able to get network access, to be able to send texts, update their Facebook, do things that people these days do at events,” he said. “They want to talk about how they are here, show pictures.”

The system includes 400 strategically placed antennae spread throughout the arena to distribute AT&T’s wireless network coverage.

“We go from zero people in the arena to 23,000, so we need a system that can scale up,” he said.

The United Center also announced a free downloadable app that will provide those at the Bulls and Blackhawks home games live camera feeds, game highlights, statistics, and other content for tablets and smartphones.

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