When I came into work this morning, I had no intention of writing about how the Royal Wedding and the death of Osama Bin Laden had been a boon for telecoms operators all over the world… but the flood of statistics coming into my inbox from Sybase, Yahoo! and Tesco said otherwise.
What’s the story?
In many ways, it was a Disney weekend. The girl got the Prince, and the bad guy got caught. And quite a lot of mobile service providers and telecoms operators took note of just how much mobile usage was driven as a result of that.
Sybase365 is a global provider of mobile messaging and commerce services. It reports that the Royal Wedding drove a spike in SMS and MMS usage that is only eclipsed by New Year’s Day. As you can see from the graph below, it was far in excess of the number of texts sent even on Valentine’s Day.
It noted that the news of Osama bin Laden’s death saw an almost 20% spike in US text messaging within 30 minutes of the news. The effect was even more dramatic in APAC countries – Singapore saw an 85% increase over regular SMS traffic, with Australia at 53%.
Tesco also reported a massive amount of interest internationally in the Royal Wedding. Calls made abroad using the Tesco International Calling Card peaked hugely during the hours of the wedding, with a 60% increase in UK residents phoning friends and family overseas to chat about the proceedings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of the calls were made to member states of the Commonwealth – though calls to both the USA and China spiked a lot as well, with a 92% increase in calls to America and a massive 177% increase to China.
It wasn’t just mobile traffic that spiked, either. Yahoo! has released its usage stats for the Royal Wedding as well, claiming that the day was the largest traffic driving event it has ever seen. It reports that Yahoo! sites serving Royal Wedding content drove 400 million page views on Friday, delivered 50k requests per second for Royal Wedding content (another record breaker), and saw video traffic peak at 21% higher than the previous record. Even the death of bin Laden couldn’t compete, as it peaked at 40k requests for content per second.
What we think?
While the increase in use of mobile services during the Royal Wedding is pretty impressive, it’s genuinely outshone by the unbelievable surge in mobile networking use that happened after the death of Osama bin Laden. The news broke on Twitter an hour before the official announcement was even made, and the network reported its most feverish level of use ever seen over Sunday night – a sustained rate of over 5,000 tweets were sent every second about the topic. It’s quite possible that from now on we’ll be able to measure the “speed” of a news item in TPS; Tweets-per-second.