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The race that tested telco networks

Telstra reports dip in data usage while Vodafone experienced SMS, voice and data spikes.
A graph provided by Telstra showing a spike in usage of the Official Racing Network iPhone app during Melbourne Cup Day.

A graph provided by Telstra showing a spike in usage of the Official Racing Network iPhone app during Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day provided some mixed results for two of the major telecommunication providers with Telstra reporting a drop in data traffic and Vodafone experiencing a spike in SMS, voice and data traffic.

According to Telstra's executive director of networks and access technology, Mike Wright, data usage actually dropped by 18 per cent during the Melbourne Cup while mobile phone calls on the national Telstra network decreased by a third. In addition, email traffic declined by 33 per cent.

“We saw significant decreases in all forms of traffic over our networks as soon as 3pm [AEST] came and the horses entered the starting gates,” he said in a statement.

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“This was most stark with SMS traffic dropping by approximately a third at 3:06pm as the race was being run, then surging by about 75 per cent above the daily average at 3:10pm when the race finished.”

On a state-by-state basis Western Australia experienced the largest drop off, with 42 per cent less calls made while the race was on.

Northern Territory came in second with a 37 per cent decrease and South Australia reported a 34 per cent drop in calls according to Telstra stats.

According to Wright, the only area where there was an increase in traffic at the time of the race was through Telstra’s Official Racing Network iPhone app where people were able to live stream video footage of the Cup.

The app was released on 31 October this year and provides racing fans with replays, results, form guides, live odds, horse profiles, race commentary and the latest racing news.

The app is the result of a partnership between TVN and Telstra, which has exclusive rights to provide live streaming of all Victorian races, including the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, and Sydney metropolitan races.

However, the app has also been made available to Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile users. According to Telstra, Android and iPad editions of the app are planned for early next year.

A Vodafone Australia spokeswoman told Computerworld Australia that the telco encountered spikes in SMS, voice and data traffic before and after the Melbourne Cup as customers took to their phones to share tips and indicate wins or losses after the race.

“We also saw a network spike immediately after Oz Lotto’s $100 million draw on Tuesday night,” she said.

Optus was contacted for comment by Computerworld Australia but a spokesman said it had no Melbourne Cup statistics available.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia Derek Lau

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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