13% spike at 8pm & 21% increases in Manchester and Liverpool 

The return of Premier League football last night caused a nationwide spike in data traffic on the O2 network, 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, however 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.

For information about measures that O2 has put in place to help customers during this period visit http://www.o2.co.uk/covid-19.

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