Aiming higher: Network boost at Rio Olympics

Ericsson and local operators enabled far higher consumption of mobile data compared to London 2012 and 2014 FIFA World Cup

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Aiming higher: Network boost at Rio Olympics Expectations on network performance are taken to a higher level when attending major events, data shows.
By  David Ndichu Published  May 9, 2017

Visitors to the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016 reported a far better network experience, Ericsson research showed.

Ericsson found that 62% of respondents said that they had a good experience during the whole period of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. A higher percentage of foreigners (72%) reported having a good experience compared to the locals (59%). There is no doubt about the fact that audiences enjoyed a much better network experience during the 2016 Rio games than at the 2014 Football Tournament, which has had an impact on their overall perception of the event.

Ericsson’s report, “Aiming Higher”, illustrates how end-user expectations on network performance are taken to a higher level when attending major events with large crowds sharing their experience live and simultaneously. According to the report, 3 out of 4 spectators used social networks during the 2016 summer games in Rio.

Prior to, and during the Olympics in Rio, Ericsson worked to prepare the networks across all of the sporting venues and related sites. To understand how these efforts paid off in terms of end-user experiences, Ericsson surveyed 800 spectators who used their smartphones during events at the games. Those responses were compared to 800 attendees at the 2014 Football World Cup across Brazil.

The concerted efforts made by the operators and Ericsson enabled a higher consumption of mobile data compared to London 2012 (4 times) and 2014 FIFA World Cup (10 times). In comparison to the 2014 World Cup, there was a shift from instant messaging to social networking, from medium data activities to heavy data activities like sharing videos, with people wanting to convey the complete experience and the feel of the event via video to their friends and family.

According to the report, during the Rio games, consumers spent more than two hours a day watching TV or video clips related to the event on smartphones while outdoors on average. In fact, network traffic increased by 72% compared to a normal day in Rio and the LTE data traffic volume increased from 34% to 45% of the total traffic.

The report also revealed that compared to the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil, there was a 20% fall in the number of people making voice calls while there was a drop of 28 % for sending text messages. Moreover, an average of 80 photos were shared per day, per person at the event, which translates to 486 million photos sent and received during the games and approximately 19,000 hours of videos were streamed.

“Consumers at large events have high expectations on networks to stream and share best experiences via their smartphones. Our report, ‘Aiming Higher’, illustrates how Ericsson worked with operators across the globe to improve network performance in order to create superior experiences for spectators of large events such as Rio 2016,” said Rafiah Ibrahim, President and Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa.

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