High quality cellular communications at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games


Traditionally thousands of spectators, reporters, officials and athletes congregate at Olympic Games within a very small area. This concentration peaks, especially during the opening and closing ceremonies, at very high numbers, seldom encountered on any other occasion globally. Most national cellular infrastructures now serve practically the whole of the country, and mobile telephones have penetrated to a considerable extent into the general population, usually outperforming fixed telephones, but past Olympic Games, and other equally important world-wide sports venues, suffered from shorter or longer blocking of the cellular services. An exception to this rule is the Olympic Games of Athens, where high-quality cellular communications were offered. This paper presents the design philosophy of the cellular network GSM 1800, proposed by the author and adopted by Cosmote, the official cellular telephony provider of the Games. The focus is on the cell design strategy, where heavy frequency reuse in an open and restricted area was necessary to satisfy the expected capacity demand. This paper demonstrates that the traditional cell-planning tools and algorithms simply fail to satisfy these needs. It proposes a new, inverse logic design methodology, useful in numerous similar applications, and, under certain conditions, also in densely populated urban areas. The results from the real Athens 2004 ‘experiment’ are also presented, to validate the strategy.

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Sergiadis, G.D. High quality cellular communications at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. BT Technol J 23, 247–258 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10550-005-0021-6

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  • Cellular Network
  • Olympic Game
  • Mobile Telephone
  • Cellular Communication
  • Frequency Reuse