The prediction comes through Telstra's Executive Director of the Consumer division, Jenny Young, who says that Telstra "expects more than 66 million SMS to be sent across Telstra's network on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, two million more than last year's record", which we're told is "approximately 52 million more than what was sent over the same period [of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day] five years ago."
The predictions for that same time period continue, with Telstra saying its customers will:
- Make around 31 million mobile calls; up from 19.5 million last year
- Make more than 25,500 video calls; up from 19,000 last year
- Send more than 850,000 picture messages
Ms Young said that: "In between champagne bottles popping and fireworks cracking, our customers will keep their fingers busy over the New Year's period using their phones to keep in contact with loved ones across the country and around the world.
"With camera phones now a standard feature in many mobile devices, we expect more than 850,000 picture messages will be shared over the New Year's period. Whether you want to send a shot of your party dress to a friend or video call family members living interstate, sending picture messages and video calling is the next best thing to being there!"
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that "11pm to midnight was traditionally the busiest hour for sending SMS on New Year's Eve."
Knowing that enormous network congestion happens at this time, Telstra says that it will be "closely monitoring the performance of the network throughout the New Year period, in particular at key holiday and celebration locations."
Ms Young advised that: "While customers may experience some short delays in getting calls or messages though during this period of time, we encourage them to be patient, wait a few minutes before trying again."
My own personal advice? If you find that you're experiencing network congestion on your 3G phone to the degree that calls aren't getting through or your ability to access data is impaired, whether it is on your Next G (or other network's 3G phone) or a Next G/3.5G data card, temporarily changing over to a 2G/2.5G network for voice and data could be helpful, as there are theoretically fewer people trying to access 2G networks.
However New Year's Eve is always an ultra busy time, and as these predictions show, gets busier every year, so let's hope Telstra's efforts in monitoring busy locations (and the efforts of its competitors to do likewise for customers) ensures as smooth a digital communications experience for everyone as possible.
Happy New Year to all, no matter which telecommunications provider and communications solutions you choose to use!