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TPA to Become the First U.S. Airport with 5G

Tampa International Airport (TPA) said this week it will soon become the first U.S. airport to offer 5G mobile speeds to passengers across the nation’s three major cellular carriers.

TPA said 5G is already available on AT&T and Verizon in the Main Terminal and post-security airsides, adding that T-Mobile’s 5G service will come online later this month.

The dramatically enhanced service is the result of a two-year distributed antenna project (DAS) contracted to Crown Castle that included installing some 800 antennas across TPA’s property and running approximately 50 miles of fiber and copper cables.

“We’re connecting customers at speeds that are off the charts by today’s standards,” said Brandon Taugner, TPA’s director of ITS enterprise operations and client services. “With 5G, you’ll be able to download up to 2 gigabits per second. Very few people have that – not even in your home.”

The DAS project also means travelers will see a significant enhancement to their 4G speeds and vastly improved cell phone coverage throughout the airport – all but eliminating low service areas. The coverage extends from the moment passengers turn on their phones at the airplane boarding gates to the moment they leave the new Rental Car Center.

The system is expected to generate approximately $500,000 in revenue per year for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, operators of TPA, over the life of the contract. The Authority did not bear any of the costs for the installation of the system, it said.