[mobilitywire] A cumulative audience of nearly 400,000 visiting soccer fans from all over the world came to South Africa in June to watch 32 countries compete in the 19th FIFA World Cup tournament. As they attended games and enjoyed the festivities they sent home pictures, videos and messages using email and messaging services, all over wireless data networks. As one of the largest eXchange service providers to enable inter-network roaming, Aicent, Inc. (www.aicent.com), recorded huge surges in network traffic during the competition, as much as 300 percent over the weeks just prior.
“As the data from our network shows, the World Cup is truly a social event where fans want to share the revelry with friends and family,” said Lynn Liu, president & CEO at Aicent. “Wireless data networks made sharing the action better than ever before as fans sent back millions of pictures, videos, tweets, emails and text messages from games in South Africa to their friends back home. Subscribers from a great number of international wireless networks were all able to use their mobile phones from South Africa due to roaming eXchanges like Aicent.”
Aicent is a leading provider of data network, messaging and roaming solutions for mobile operators globally serving more than 2.5 billion mobile subscribers around the world. Aicent operates one of the world’s largest GPRS and 3G network eXchanges, directly connecting to over 100 operators, including nine of the world’s ten largest. Aicent’s MMS and SMS eXchanges is one of industry’s largest, interconnecting with over 150 mobile operators around the world.
Aicent observed that traffic correlated directly with the number of matches taking place on a specific day; the more matches in a day, the higher traffic would spike. The day with the highest volume of data traffic was Wednesday, June 23, the day that Nigeria and South Korea played to a tie, Argentina defeated Greece, England defeated Slovenia, and the United States defeated Algeria. The day with the next highest volume was Tuesday, June 15, when three matches between Italy and Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia, and Cote d’Ivoire and Portugal all ended in ties.
Aicent’s data shows that Americans were among the largest group of people visiting South Africa, with more than 60 percent of Aicent’s data traffic coming from customers of GSM operators in the United States. On days when the US National Team played, these operators experienced their largest spikes in traffic, with traffic leaving South Africa far and away exceeding traffic coming to South Africa by a ratio exceeding 4:1.
Soccer fans in South Africa relied on their mobile phones to share pictures, videos, live game updates and other messages with friends back home. In fact, according to Mayan Mathen, CTO of Dimension Data, during the World Cup, South Africa became one of the highest “tweet” sources in the world, referring to the Twitter social network phenomenon. World Cup fans in South Africa averaged 750 tweets per second, with some 3,500 going out every second during World Cup matches.
Wireless Data Roaming Scores Big at World Cup