• Amazon Prime Video’s streaming of five Premier League matches and online gaming resulted in the busiest day in the history of Virgin Media O2’s broadband network
  • As football fever gripped the nation, Virgin Media O2 saw a 49% rise on BBC 1 viewing figures while we cheered on the Lionesses as they made history bringing football home. The Men’s World Cup opener England v Iran also led to the biggest spike in mobile data traffic ever recorded on O2’s network
  • O2 Motion data showed that Brits flocked to hotter climates over the summer as European travel from the UK was up 226% compared with 2021, reaching almost pre-pandemic volumes
  • As the world reopened out of lockdown, data consumption continued to climb to new heights in 2022, with mobile traffic up 36% to its highest ever level and customers downloading 9% more broadband data per day than in 2021
  • Learn more here: Connectivity, Mobile and Broadband Trends 2022 | Virgin Media


20 December 2022: New insights released today by Virgin Media O2 reveal the consumer connectivity behaviours that shaped an unprecedented 2022 as Brits navigated a year of ‘new-normal’ and witnessed major, historic events from the death of Queen Elizabeth II to the Lionesses’ success in the summer.

As 2022 brought post-Covid freedoms, demand for data remained at record levels. Virgin Media O2 saw its biggest ever year for data use on both its broadband and mobile networks, as more people went online to chat, stream, share and game. In 2022, customers downloaded 9% more broadband data per day than the previous year, with mobile traffic up 36% year on year.

Following the analysis of connectivity trends for tens of millions of customers using anonymised and aggregated data from 1st January – 19th December 2022, Virgin Media O2 reveals Brits’ connectivity habits from 2022.

Train troubles enforced home working

Train strikes kept Brits at home, with the biggest nationwide strike for over 30 years across June 21st, 23rd and 25th, resulting in a 72% reduction in City of London crowd volumes compared to the week prior, according to O2 Motion data. At the same time, broadband upload traffic peaked 5% week on week due to the corresponding increase of video calls on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Download traffic levels were also up 10% – highlighting the nation’s dependence on broadband connectivity.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the new Thursdays

Across the year, Tuesday and Wednesday office days have grown in popularity, as Brits settled into their new hybrid working patterns. Crowd movement data from O2 Motion across the year1 shows commuter numbers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are equally high, beating Thursdays as the most popular days in the office.

Brits flocked to hotter climates

European travel from the UK reached almost pre-pandemic volumes over the summer, according to anonymised and aggregated O2 Motion data, with Spain continuing to top the list of most popular European destinations as average weekly roaming volumes nearly tripled compared to Summer 2021. Reintroduced European roaming charges could have cost UK travellers up to £8.9 million a week2 across some of the most popular summer destinations.

Virgin Media O2 remains the only major mobile network provider not to bring back EU roaming fees, saving the average family of four £100 or more for a two-week holiday3.

Gamers levelled-up on broadband data usage

Some lockdown habits have stuck, with online gaming continuing to drive record broadband traffic spikes in 2022. Call of Duty Warzone 2.0’s launch on 16th November saw the busiest day on record for gaming-related broadband data consumption. Close second was 14th December’s gaming releases for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Season 1 (Raids) alongside The Witcher 3 Next Gen update, with the day narrowly missing out on the top spot by a mere 0.6Gbps.

We’re streaming for England (En-ger-land)

Football was responsible for the biggest O2 mobile data traffic spikes this year, with the lunchtime (1pm) England v Iran competition opener on 21st November driving record spikes in mobile data traffic ever recorded on O2’s network. Compared to England’s opening game against Tunisia in the 2018 competition, mobile data traffic was up 361%. The Lionesses lifting the Euros trophy saw a 49% increase in household reach on the match day 31st July compared to an average day as the nation cheered on the women to make history.

The 2022 finals of the Premier League and Champions League saw huge mobile data surges, with mobile network traffic 37% and 30% higher than their respective 2021 finals. Further, during the evening of 19th October, when Prime Video streamed five Premier League matches and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II pre-download was released, Virgin Media’s broadband data consumption significantly spiked before peaking at 9:20pm when traffic was up 40% compared to an average weeknight in 2022.

‘Appy days

TikTok usage continued to grow throughout 2022, accounting for nearly 10% of all mobile app usage in November, while Snapchat and Instagram were responsible or only 2.5% and 1% respectively. Facebook remains the most popular mobile app overall, making up over a fifth (22%) of O2 customer app usage in November.

The data highs and lows of the year

  • Appreciation for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – Over half of Virgin Media’s TV customers watched the Queen’s funeral, which also saw O2 mobile data traffic dip across the UK as 28 million people tuned in to watch, making it one of the country’s biggest ever TV events.
  • Celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee – Brits visited palaces and piers in their hundreds of thousands over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. O2 Motion data4 revealed Buckingham Palace as the most popular destination, with visitors peaking at 195,000. Newquay beach and Blackpool Pleasure beach saw visitors up 224% and 284% respectively, compared to the same time the previous week.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer, Virgin Media O2 said:

“Looking back on 2022, it’s clear that reliance on broadband and mobile connectivity is seeing traffic and data use grow more and more. This year, a number of major events that gripped the nation alongside huge gaming launches and the continuation of hybrid working, have all contributed to a record-breaking surge in customer traffic on our network and we see no sign of this changing.

“With 2023 on the horizon, whatever it brings, we’ll continue to invest heavily to keep the country connected, keep pace with demand and ensure we’re focused on customer experience and reliability.”




Notes to Editors:


  1. O2 Motion anonymised crowd movement data based on connections to the O2 mobile phone network across 1st January – 25th November 2022
  2. O2 Motion data was captured from w/c 4th July to the end of w/c 29th August inclusive, in Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Cyprus, Croatia and Austria
  3. Analysis of daily charge rates from other providers suggests that a family of four going abroad for two weeks could see £100 or more added to their holiday bill when using their phones each day.
  4. O2 Motion anonymised crowd movement data based on connections to the O2 mobile phone network across Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June.
  5. App data was from Virgin Media O2 internal data
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