Thursday, 20 December 2018 12:06

Optus ramps up network for festive season Featured


Optus says it has been busy ramping up its network in time for the festive season, implementing special event parameters across the country to ensure major shopping centres, holiday hotspots and New Year’s destinations are ready to handle the significant increase in traffic over the period.

“With many of us starting to wind down on what has been another busy year, the Optus Network team are full speed ahead, helping connect our customers with their loved ones over the Christmas period,” the telco says.

“Despite what we think would be a busy time of year to be calling loved ones, Christmas Day is actually one of the quietest times, with the Optus mobile network carrying 27 million calls on Christmas Day, almost half of the 50 million mobile calls the network handles on a typical business day,” the telco says as it released details of business for the holiday period.

In a light-hearted comment on preparations for the festive season Optus — Australia’s second largest telco — says, “It may be surprising, but Santa’s home of the North Pole isn’t the most popular destination to call on Christmas Day; it's India that takes the fruit cake as the most popular international Australian call destination, well ahead with more than 1.6 million fixed and mobile international call minutes, followed by the United Kingdom with 345,000 and New Zealand with 307,000.”

“Soon after the candy canes have been moved into the discount aisle at the supermarket, Optus’ network will be ready to handle more than 65 million mobile calls and 97 million SMS messages throughout New Year’s Eve,” Optus notes.

Optus’ managing director for Networks, Dennis Wong, said, “The team puts in a tremendous amount of preparation in areas like Sydney Harbour to support more than 1.5 million people scattered around the foreshore on New Year’s Eve. With 12 months of planning, we are ramping up network capacity to optimise the network in high traffic areas like Southbank in Melbourne and Brisbane, Perth’s Kings Park, along the Torrens River in Adelaide and Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

“Our network engineers are expecting the traditional mobile calls and SMS messages to decline gradually again this year with the use of data-based apps becoming more and more popular. The total number of mobile calls and SMS messages decreased by 4%and 6.5% respectively last year compared to a 15% increase in mobile data users, with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger becoming our most popular forms of communication across New Year’s Eve.

“If you think the stroke of midnight is the most popular time to be using social media on your mobile, you were right! Last year saw SnapChat well ahead of any other application with the multimedia giant using 10.39 TB of data, compared to the next closest application WhatsApp with 755GB of data used.

“Once the champagne corks have popped on New Year’s Eve, we won’t be taking a break as Optus gears up for an exciting year ahead with the launch of our 5G Fixed Wireless Access services in early 2019,” Wong said.

So, for comparison, here’s Optus’ 2017 Optus Network Statistics over the Festive Season:

  • On Christmas Day, the Optus Network carried 27 million mobile, 23 million fixed and 5.2 million fixed and mobile international calls.
  • On Christmas Day 2017, there was a 1.8% decrease in the total number of mobile calls compared to Christmas Day 2016.
  • Over Christmas Day, the Optus network handled 48.7 million SMS messages, a 7.2% YOY decrease, most likely due to the increase in data application usage.
  • On Christmas Day, there was a significant build-up in messages sent shortly after 6am which continued until 11:00am before traffic began to gradually decline to normal levels.
  • India was the most popular international destination for outbound calls during Christmas Day with 1.6 million fixed and mobile international call minutes, second was the United Kingdom with 345,000 and New Zealand sitting in third with 307,000.
  • There was a 12% increase in mobile data usage on Christmas Day, with Snapchat the most popular form of social media, well ahead of messaging applications WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
  • Over 97.3 million SMS messages and 65.6 million mobile calls were processed across New Year’s Eve and New Years Day.
  • The total number of mobile calls and SMS messages decreased by 4% and 6.5% respectively when compared to 2016/17.
  • New Year’s Eve mobile data usage increased 15.7% to 6.7 million from 5.8 million users the previous year.
  • Midnight on New Year’s Eve was the most popular time to use social media with SnapChat using 10.39 TB of data.
  • The Optus Network has seen mobile data consumptions increase by 55% this year and traffic is expected to grow to another 60% next year.

On a typical business day the Optus network handles 51.3 million mobile calls and 51 million SMS messages.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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