Telcos reveal plans for NYE onslaught

TELSTRA has revealed new data predictions for how many text messages and calls will be made tonight, as Optus and Vodafone are also expecting revellers to be using data more than ever before.

Telstra's Executive Director, of Network and Infrastructure Engineering, Channa Seneviratne, said Telstra is predicting a record amount of data on its mobile network this New Year's Eve.

Australians will download approximately 1500 terabytes of data.

"The amount of data we predict to be downloaded on New Year's Eve is the equivalent of one person continuously watching 57 years of High Definition content," he said.

Telstra also predicts that there will be 47 million calls from mobiles - up 15 per cent from last year - and close to 91 million text messages sent to family and friends.

Telstra said that the peak in texting starts just as we ring in the New Year.

Last year alone, more than 4.1 million text messages were sent between midnight and 1am.

"The increase in data usage on our mobile network is a trend we see every day," Mr Seneviratne said in a statement on Telstra's website.

"Nine in 10 Australian mobile phone owners now use a smartphone with data usage on our mobile network continuing to grow throughout the year as a result of the increasing demand for news and entertainment, the popularity of instant video capture applications like Instagram and Snapchat and more access to high-speed 4G and 4GX technology."

The high volume of calls, texts and data usage expected comes after Telstra faced a few national outages this year. The telco also announced plans in late 2016 to spend $250 million upgrading its network this year.

At the time of the announcing Telstra's plans to upgrade its network, CEO Andy Penn denied the company's problems "had actually increased". He blamed the popularity of its services.

The telco's "prioritised" $250 million investment was designed to improve its networks' resilience, Penn said, and would include better procedures and tools for monitoring network problems and reconnecting customers after outages.

This year, Telstra had an outage in February where mobile users in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia experienced major problems.

The outage struck after a fire broke out at an exchange on Sydney's lower north shore.

It also affected Australia's airports where Jetstar flights to a number of locations were temporarily delayed.



There were also Telstra home internet outages reported in August, and a Telstra mobile internet outage reported in September with customers affected in NSW.

Optus has told News Corp Australia that it anticipates New Year's Eve revellers will be calling, texting and exchanging social media more than ever before.

An Optus spokeswoman said that if this year's Christmas volumes are used as a guide for what to expect on New Year's Eve, data exchange will be huge.

In previous years, Optus experienced a 30 per cent increase in data throughput.

"This Christmas (2017) the increase was more than 130 per cent," she said.

Optus is prepared for New Year’s Eve. Picture: AAP
Optus is prepared for New Year’s Eve. Picture: AAP

"Snapchat was the highest utilised Social Media Messaging Application over the Christmas and Boxing Day period. For those calling overseas on Christmas, India, New Zealand and the U.K. topped the list."

In order to be ready for the high records of data used, Optus said it will manage configuration on its base stations to optimise performance for customers.

"We manage configuration on our base stations to optimise performance for those known very high traffic loads," she said.

"We also deploy Cells on Wheels (CoWs) where we can to provide additional capacity to high traffic areas like major events in Australia's metro areas."

"This year, Optus customers who reach out to family and friends will benefit from even greater coverage, bolstered by our significant 2017 infrastructure investment, and faster speeds, due to increased, nationwide 4G coverage."

Optus customers were hit by a national internet outage in November on the National Broadband Network, in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.



Vodafone Australia's Consumer Director Ben McIntosh told News Corp Australia that New Year's Eve is the "night of nights" for mobile networks.

He said that Vodafone has been planning for this year's New Year's Eve for the last 12 months, and he expects that records will be broken if you combine all forms of smartphone messaging like WhatsApp, SnapChat, Skype and beyond.

He also said that it will be a record year for data because more Australians have bought top quality smartphones.

Vodafone are ready for NYE as well. Picture: AAP
Vodafone are ready for NYE as well. Picture: AAP

"Most people have high end model cameras on their smartphone. They can shot true high defintion video, they're not just taking selfie or still photo. They're taking true high definition video and sending it on social media and sharing it," he said.

To be prepared, Mr McIntosh said they have 200 mobile network engineers working tonight to check every single part of the network structure. They also have special event parameters in place to ensure networks are working where alot of people congregate.

Vodafone is also deploying Cells on Wheels (CoWs) like Optus, to increase power and speed for customers.

"There's no busier time that tonight, never do you put your netowrk to a bigger test," he said.

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