IEEE ComSoc Student Members Visit AT&T Data Center in Tlalnepantla, Mexico

By Jose-Ignacio Castillo-Velazquez - UACM, Mexico

On February 25, 2016, AT&T for the first time in México opened its data center during the AT&T High Tech Day, when ComSoc student members and student branch members from Universidad Autonoma de la Ciudad de México, with students from other universities, visited the center. AT&T opened some of its data centers that same day. Students had the chance to communicate using video conferencing with students in other cities where AT&T has data centers, such as San Juan, Puerto Rico; Texas, New Jersey and Florida in the U.S.; and Tlalnepantla in Mexico State, near Mexico City.

Until December 2014, the mobile market in México had the following distribution: TELCEL-AMERICA MOBILE (from Mexico) was the largest with 70.4 million users; second was MOVISTAR- TELEFONICA (from Spain) with 20.5 million users; IUSACELLwas third with 8.5 million users; and NEXTEL was fourth with 2.8 million users. In January 2015 AT&T (from the U.S.) re-entered the market in México, buying IUSACELL and NEXTEL. Now AT&T is the third largest competitor measured by number of users, 11.4 millions, but second in revenues and coverage with 90 percent, behind TELCEL, which covers 94 percent, and ahead of MOVISTAR, which covers 80 percent of Mexico. Students had the chance to visit the AT&T data center and its NOC (network operations center).

In the U.S., the purpose of AT&T High Tech Day was to get high school students excited about careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This event has occurred since 1998; this year was the first time it occurred in Mexico due to the recent AT&T acquisition. Because of confidentiality reasons, students could not take pictures inside the data center and NOC facilities. Students received snacks and flash memories from AT&T as souvenirs.

At the end of the visit, the students had the chance to talk with the AT&T data center´s CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Now those students have a better idea how a real data center and NOC work, and they have also expanded their career opportunities to consider when they will graduate.