July 25, 2012, 11:25 AM — The UK's largest mobile phone operators believe that they will be able to cope with the expected increase in demand on their networks during the London 2012 Olympic Games, thanks to real-time data and more engineers.
According to official London 2012 advice for businesses, mobile networks may be slowed down at peak times during the Games, despite additional capacity and coverage for mobile phone networks being put in around Games venues. The degradation of service is more likely to affect the downloading of large files or images, than voice, email and low-data traffic.
"We have accelerated network upgrade and deployment work and are in the process of optimising our network in London to ensure our customers have a great experience. We are also putting in place extra coverage in public spaces, such as Hyde Park, where we know there will be a large number of people," a Vodafone UK spokesperson said.
The mobile operator said that it handles more than 45 terabytes (TB) of data, 90 million calls and 155 million texts on an average day.
"Obviously, we are expecting a significant increase on that level of demand, but we are experts in forecasting demand and optimising our network -- in real time -- to cope with high usage.
"Our network operations centre (NOC) at our headquarters in Newbury gives us real-time visibility of traffic and enables our team of engineers to dial up capacity when and where we need it. For example, on New Year's Eve 2011, our network was comfortably handling 12,000 texts a second and we saw well over a million people log on to Facebook, through their phones, in the space of a couple of hours," the spokesperson said.
The operator said that it has also been working with its colleagues in other countries to learn from their experiences of recent, large-scale sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
Everything Everywhere said that it has been preparing for London 2012 since before Orange and T-Mobile merged to create the new joint venture in the UK.
It too has analysed previous global and national events to predict the amount of demand expected on its network.
"We've also increased measures in place to maintain service and operational stability during the Games. Additional field maintenance resource in the areas of the country most affected are in place, alongside dedicated incident managers to ensure a very rapid response time to any service-affecting incidents.