The London 2012 Olympics led to a surge in data usage, as consumers increasingly turned to their mobile phones to watch the likes of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah win gold.
Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone all reported an increase in data consumption. On 11 and 12 August, when the 16-day event came to a close, Everything Everywhere said data volumes in the Greenwich area were 25% higher than on an average summer weekend. Consumption in the Olympic Park rose 20% compared with the opening weekend. However, data usage reached its peak during the so-called ‘Super Saturday’ and ‘Super Sunday’ of 4 and 5 August, with consumption increasing by more than 50% in the Olympic Park compared with the first weekend of the Games.
For O2, data usage during the two-week period was on average 10% higher than the preceding week. However, when compared with the same period in 2011, data consumption was up by almost 80%. O2 customers sent just under four billion texts, made 2.2 billion voice calls and used 3.3 billion kilobytes of data. O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne said: ‘At the busiest hours in the Olympic Park, our network carried more traffic than any other major UK city.’
Vodafone dubbed the Games ‘the first truly mobile Olympiad’, with customers consuming on average 15% more data than usual. Data usage reached an all-time high when Bradley Wiggins pedalled to victory in the time trial, with Vodafone’s network carrying more data per second than during last year’s Royal Wedding or New Year’s Eve celebrations.
On 11 August, when Mo Farah, Ed McKeever and Luke Campbell each won gold for Team GB, the data consumed over Vodafone’s network was enough for one person to stream video continuously on a mobile phone for almost 40 years.
The network said the 500+ acres of the Olympic Park accounted for almost 10% of data consumed within the M25 during the Games period. Around one in 100 of all calls and texts made on Vodafone’s network within the Greater London area were to and from mobiles in the Olympic Park.
Three said it saw a surge in traffic to health and fitness sites, while streaming of the BBC’s iPlayer increased by 167% during Danny Boyle’s acclaimed opening ceremony as many customers chose to watch the event on their smartphones and tablets.
Because of the use of streaming across laptops, smartphones and tablets, the BBC had described the London Games as ‘the first truly digital Olympics’. Writing on the BBC blog, Cait O’Riordan, head of product for BBC Sport and London 2012, said it received 12 million requests for mobile video during the Games. The BBC had 9.2 million visitors to its mobile site and Olympics app across the fortnight, with more than 2.3 million users browsing the site on their tablets. Mobile browsing reached its peak on ‘Super Saturday’, when Team GB clinched six gold medals.
Editor: Graeme Neill