Rob Pegoraro's post on Telecom & Wireless | Latest updates on Sulia
Two things to remember if you want to use your phone on the Mall in D.C. tomorrow
The wireless carriers all say they've upgraded their coverage around the Mall to deal with crowds expected for President Obama's inauguration tomorrow (http://www.eweek.com/mobile/wireless-carriers-readying-mobile-coverage-in-capital-for-inauguration/), but you should be prepared for their networks to get a little swamped.
First, opt for texting--the old-fashioned kind, not Google Voice or Facebook messaging--over voice or data. It uses less data than anything else (although the carriers' fees would suggest otherwise).
Second, if you can't get any sort of usable access, put the phone in airplane mode and take it out only once an hour. That way, you'll slow the battery drain caused the phone constantly thrashing for a signal.