Given that many cable news networks now regularly run viewer images and even video taken by mobile phones—and the fact that most everyone has a phone to call in those special moments to friends, family and of course the news – there are times when you can’t get through.
This is a new phenomenon that is being called mobile gridlock or a logjam. This has been increasingly a problem at times such as 12:01 am on New Year’s Day when it just seems right to call, IM or text away to friends. And already there are reports that the next ultra big gridlock could take place on January 20, when President-elect Barack Obama takes office.
The CTIA – The Wireless Association is already warning that this could be the biggest logjam the mobile world has ever seen. At least this event can be planned for and carriers have plans in place. Sprint is going to roll with it, literally. The coming will deploy Cell on Wheels and Cell on Light Truck, or COWs and COLTs. These vehicles will use satellite and microwave technology to act as mobile cell towers. While these are deployed to disaster sites when towers get knocked down, Sprint will roll into town to make sure there should be enough mobile coverage in D.C. for the inauguration.
But this brings up another issue, and that is whether all the mobile devices and functionality will seriously outpace coverage. The CTIA has reported that for many real disasters and other events where masses exceed the normal population, cell towers can be overwhelmed very quickly.
Let’s hope that planned events make the mobile carriers ready for when the unplanned events arrive!