The return of Premier League football last night caused a nationwide spike in data traffic on the O2 network from the week before, as fans streamed the games live.
Data traffic started to increase after 4pm and began to peak at 6pm.
The busiest hour was 8pm – just before kick-off for the Manchester City vs Arsenal match – where O2 saw a 13% increase in the amount of data used nationwide.
The home cities of the four teams playing last night saw differing patterns. Interestingly, Liverpool saw one of the largest spikes (21% at 7pm) as fans hoped for a potential City loss.
Sheffield – 7pm 24% increase in data traffic
Birmingham – 7pm 13% increase in data traffic
Manchester – 8pm 21% increase in data traffic
London – 8pm 11% increase in data traffic
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2, said: “Our data shows that the football is bringing Britain together again – whether that’s chatting via text or calls, or online sporting ‘Watch Parties’ – with yesterday’s matches allowing us to return to some sense of normality. During lockdown, O2 has doubled elements of our network capacity to ensure Britain stays connected and it’s great to see we’ve been able to help fans watch football again.”
Since the lockdown began, O2 has offered its customers 388 million free minutes, as well as 3 million GB of data to NHS employees at the forefront of efforts to battle the coronavirus and rebuild Britain.
O2 experienced an initial 25% increase in phone calls as Britons checked on their friends and family, with people spending 30% longer on the phone since lockdown.