Cellphone coverage during the inauguration was spotty and text messages arrived sometimes an hour after they were sent during today’s inauguration activities in Washington, D.C., AP reports. AT&T (NYSE: T) said there was some congestion today; T-Mobile USA said call volume in downtown Washington was 10 times normal in the hour before noon; and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) said call volume was three to five times normal and text messages may have been seven times higher than on a normal Tuesday last year. Of course, carriers had been preparing for the event for weeks and brought in portable cell towers that could boost capacity, but still, calls and texts often were difficult to complete. Largely, it was the non-voice communications, like people sending text messages or photos or watching video, that were feared would overrun the networks. Separately, when logging into Twitter, users got a message upon logging in saying that the sites were receiving too many tweets and were over capacity. News outlets, like NPR and *CBS*, were partly relying on Twitter to get messages from people participating in the event.
UPDATE: Twitter’s Co-Founder Biz Stone wrote on the company’s blog that it was a big day on Twitter. It wasn’t even noon yet, and “we saw 5x normal tweets-per-second and about 4x tweets-per-minute.” Although I was unable to login at times, he said “Overall, Twitter sailed smoothly through the inauguration but at the peak, some folks did experience a 2-5 minute delay receiving updates.”