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22 Jul

LTE Stats Reveal Most Popular World Cup Match on Mobile Broadband

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has come to an end with Germany claiming the championship following an extra time victory over Argentina. But was the final match between Germany and Argentina the most popular of the tournament? Statistical analysis from one wireless provider suggests it was not.

Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada, closely monitored the impact the World Cup had on the capacity of their LTE and HSPA networks. According to their data from SevOne, the most watched match on their mobile broadband network was… the Netherlands vs. Argentina! (The second most popular game was Germany’s 7-1 trouncing of Brazil.)

Bell Mobility Capacity Report - End of Game

The scoreless match between the Netherlands and Argentina proved to be the most watched World Cup event on Bell Mobility’s mobile broadband network.

Bell Mobility

Germany’s victory over Argentina proved a lesser draw on Bell Mobility’s LTE and HSPA networks.

Wait, that Doesn’t Seem Right!

What would explain the reduction in LTE consumption during the decisive match between Germany and Argentina? Has Canada been inundated with immigrants from The Hague? I asked Zlatko Zahirovic, Manager of Wireless Network Connectivity Engineering at Bell Mobility. “It actually makes perfect sense,” he said. “Most viewers retreat to their home TVs and home Internet connections for the final match.” It’s interesting to note that Bell has been ranked by NetFlix as number one on their Canada ISP Speed Index.

While Germany may not have won the LTE battle, they certainly won the Nielsen ratings. The match averaged a 9.7 overnight rating, the third-highest metered market rating for any World Cup match on the ESPN networks and ABC on record.

The Big Picture

Overall, Bell Mobility saw a 34% spike in LTE traffic from the World Cup tournament. In the chart below, you can see the consistent growth of LTE throughput over the past year. Wait –what’s that huge spike in traffic this past winter? Oh, that was when Canadians were glued to watching their Gold Medal-winning hockey team in the Sochi Olympics.

Bell Mobility LTE Throughput

Bell Mobility used SevOne to tally the LTE throughput for the past 12 months across all cell site routers. The result was a single view that revealed as-polled utilization of their entire LTE network.

The chart above underscores a couple important points:

First, the Internet of Things and all its connected devices continues to drive mobile broadband consumption. What’s more, if you zoom in to the detail of a chart like this to reveal the second-by-second throughput for each router, you’d uncover an interesting story. “LTE traffic is extremely bursty,” said Zahirovic. “The only way to understand actual spikes in traffic is to poll at high frequency. SevOne gives us this capability. Now we have the data to provision our links in a way that maximizes resources and ensures a positive customer experience.”

Second, and equally important, is the need for reliable data on the type of traffic traversing your network. In Bell Mobility’s case, they use SevOne to reveal what percent of their traffic is LTE versus HSPA/EVDO. Once they get to the point where 90 percent of their traffic is LTE, they can decide if it’s time to save costs by eliminating 2G/3G services and antennae from their towers. Read the full story on how Bell Mobility uses SevOne to cut waste from their network.

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