When people ask Steven Shapiro what he does for a living, his initial answer, “I work in the DAS group for ASG at AT&T,” gets him quizzical looks. Instead he offers, “Think of the 35th floor of a skyscraper. It’s hard to get cell service there so we install DAS—a distributed antenna system. We bring cell service into the building.”
As a Network Process & Quality Manager at AT&T Mobility, Shapiro ensures that enterprise customers, public venues (such as stadiums and malls) and college campuses have access to cellular service and that the service functions properly. “People only think about it when it doesn’t work,” Shapiro explains. “They’re not aware of the challenges or processes that make that service happen.”
In the two years after the initial release of the iPhone, AT&T experienced a 5000 percent increase in data usage over its network. That explosion of data traffic impacted not only the transfer of data, but the transfer of voice as well. “I don’t think anyone envisioned what reality would be like over the past few years,” says Shapiro. In 2010 alone, AT&T invested $19 billion in its network. “We’ve been working hard to build out what we can,” says Shapiro. The merger with T-Mobile USA (pending FCC approval) is another big step toward improving the company’s network.
Shapiro is also responsible for crafting policies and procedures in regards to how DAS system “outages” are reported. AT&T is working to automate the process and to create maintenance procedures that optimize customer experience as well as reduce costs.
Ever since he was a child, Shapiro has been passionate about technology. He’s also passionate about all things sustainable. He gives of his time and energy to organizations like Sierra Club and Architecture for Humanity. Shapiro, who lives in Atlanta but grew up in Philadelphia, is also passionate about the Philadelphia Eagles. So how does he feel about AT&T being the carrier of choice for the new Cowboys Stadium, home of the Eagle’s dreaded rivals, the Dallas Cowboys? While he’s glad the team’s fans will get great reception, he says: “Growing up in Philly, you’re taught to hate the Cowboys before you’re taught to love the Eagles.”
The crack of the bat, the pop of the glove, spring has officially sprung as America’s pastime, Major League Baseball, is back in business having officially started for most teams either Thursday, April 5th or Friday, April 6th....