New Year's Eve Set to Boost Mobile Data Usage and Reverse 2012 SMS Decline

By Colleen Lynch December 31, 2012

As it is New Year’s Eve, many in the industry are taking stock of how 2012 went, as well as how 2013 can be better. In the UK, mobile phone networks are planning for a huge increase in data usage for today and into the New Year. Despite the threat to SMS seen this year as the volume of text messages fell overall, New Year’s Eve could reverse this trend completely, allowing some good fortune to shine down on the future of SMS.

There will reportedly be millions of text messages sent around the world tonight, most wishing friends and family a happy new year. Everything Everywhere Limited, or EE, was the first to report to the BBC on these predictions, claiming tonight, December 31st 2012, will experience a 97.8 percent increase in data usage. This number has been calculated as compared to the same date in 2011, and translates to about 303 million calls made, and nearly as many text messages sent – 284 million.

Should these predictions prove correct, this would amount to 226 terabytes of data being sent around the world tonight alone.

One component which might factor into the mix, EE says, is social networking. Today, with the overwhelming popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, people are likely to send good wishes for the New Year through social media platforms, which can reach a much wider audience.

Additionally, since many use Facebook and Twitter though applications on their smartphones, it is a safe bet that as the clock strikes midnight tonight, millions of people in the UK and throughout the world will take to their phones to post “Happy New Year’s” messages in real-time where they happen to be celebrating, rather than logging onto a computer to do so.

With all these contributions to data usage at one time, the UK is understandably stressed about the capabilities of its networks, but so far back as February, companies have been working to ensure the systems can handle the extra workload.

Vodafone is one such company, and has said, “We start early so that we can identify and upgrade sites where we know there is going to be high usage as a result of large gatherings of people celebrating the New Year.”

“We also plan for any temporary sites that we may need in order to deal with specific locations which generally do not have high traffic during the rest of the year (such as local parks which are hosting New Year’s parties),” the company added.

The future of 2013 and SMS is not yet clear, but if New Year’s Eve is any indication, there will be a surefire comeback in store.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Contributor

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