Usage spikes as snow falls


Mobile networks were strained February 2 after thick blankets of snow hit the UK resulting in a high number of calls and messages over the networks. 

Some customers claimed text messages and voice calls were failing to go through with customers receiving fault alerts.

Orange said it received the most amount of traffic on its network in the morning of February 2.

An Orange spokesperson said: “It’s the biggest Monday for mobile in years, with people using their mobiles, dongles and Wi-Fi to keep on working in spite of the snow. We have seen an uplift in usage across the entire network.

“The biggest spike for calls and texts was in the morning between 7am and 8.30am when people were contacting their work to say they couldn’t make it in.

“Throughout the day, the mobile data network has seen a considerable uplift with people logging on from home to keep up to speed with work. Wi-Fi usage is also up. People were also using their phones to upload photos of them messing around in the snow to social networking sites like Facebook.”

3 said double the normal amount of picture messages were sent on its network as customers sent pictures of the snow.

3 Chief technology officer Graham Baxter said: “We saw a steep jump in the number of picture messages across our network as snowmen make an all too rare appearance in gardens across the country.”

T-Mobile reported a 73 per cent increase in calls being made over its network, 57 per cent increase in calls received, 21 per cent increase in text messages and 20 per cent increase in mobile broadband.

A T-Mobile spokesperson said: “Our network is working well, and although we’ve experienced a surge in traffic, it coped with the additional volumes.”

Vodafone reported a staggering 800 per cent increase in the number of picture messages sent between 7am and 8am on February 2. It also reported a 50 per cent increase in the number of voice calls made over its network and a 58 per cent increase in text messages.      

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “There were pockets of congestion on the network, but the network did its job without any technical difficulties. There was a 14 per cent increase in mobile broadband usage as well. Over all we performed very well.”

O2 reported a 70 per cent increase in the number of text messages sent on its network and a 20 per cent increase in calls.