|Mobiles deny major network issues|
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 02:00
Operators say they are coping with increased network traffic during the World Cup, relying on real-time adjustments to free up congestion.
SA`s three mobile operators, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, have denied any major network traffic congestion problems during the 2010 Soccer World Cup kick-off weekend.
Vodacom, in particular, has denied having any network congestion issues, despite a complaint logged on HelloPeter.com, as well as complaints from a number of ITWeb staff and readers.
The complaints ranged from bad signals, dropped calls and delayed SMSes to extremely slow GPRS downloads over the Vodacom mobile network, specifically during the kick-off game and over the opening weekend.
“We did experience some network congestion issues in Sandton, on Wednesday, last week. Other than that, things have been running to plan,” claims Richard Boorman, executive head of corporate communications at Vodacom.
Running to plan, however, does not include the point of highest network congestion just before the official kick-off. “At times of peak demand, such as just prior to kick-off, it is almost inevitable that there will be some congestion, but this is not indicative of a failure in either the technology or the network,” notes Boorman.
Vodacom is being proactive about gathering information about demand patterns relating to the World Cup, he notes, and a dedicated team is monitoring the demand to make both real-time adjustments, as well as larger changes post event.
“We are making adjustments in real-time as we see loads building in specific areas,” he explains. As a result, at the weekend, Vodacom installed new equipment to increase capacity at the park and ride facilities, at Soccer City.
“Perhaps as a response to the noise in the stadiums, we are seeing even more in the way of data as opposed to voice traffic than has been seen at any major sporting event in the past, and we are making adjustments to cater for this,” adds Boorman.
However, Vodacom claims it has done its homework ahead of the major sporting event, including extensive planning and investment over the past two years. In April, Vodacom had announced the laying of fibre-optic rings nationally to increase national transmission capacity.
This included the construction of 11 fibre-optic rings in major metropolitan areas, to interconnect mobile switching centres and base station controller sites nationally.
SA`s third cellular operator, Cell C, notes that it too had upgraded and optimised its network prior to the World Cup to cater for the anticipated increase in traffic.
As such, Cell C claims there were no big problems over the past weekend. “There were no major issues on the network, despite increased traffic. Isolated incidents reported were attended to immediately. However, it is important to note that these incidents were not specifically related to the World Cup,” explains Dennis Abella, Cell C`s executive head of operations.
“Cell C is continuously monitoring the network to ensure no interruptions, and has a technical team on standby 24/7 to ensure that all issues are identified and resolved as a matter of urgency. Cell C partners and vendors provide the necessary support as and when required,” he adds.
MTN SA`s R500 million network investment, however, has proven successful, despite the booming World Cup traffic.
MTN claimed a 100% stable and operational network in the days leading up to and during the opening match of the Soccer World Cup.
“Our network was very stable and able to accommodate the high demands placed on it by our customers during this time,” says Sameer Dave, CTO of MTN SA.
These demands include a large-scale increase in data usage driven by 3G/HSPA. MTN subscriber-generated SMS volumes reached a total of 25 million over the four-day period of the World Cup, peaking at 6.46 million, on 11 June. An average of 6.26 million SMSes were sent per day.
In addition, subscriber-generated MMS volumes reached a total of 1.2 million over the four days, peaking at 344 253 on 11 June, at an average of 307 278 MMSes per day, claims the operator.
“It is encouraging to note that, having handled the increase in traffic over the first few days of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the MTN network is ready to continue processing the huge volumes in both voice and data traffic during the remainder of the event,” concludes Dave.
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