Telcos pleased with network performance for world cup

Update 4.25pm: Vodafone responds to complaint regarding poor coverage during opening ceremony

Cellphone networks appear to have weathered the demand storm caused by the Rugby World Cup opening on Friday night.

Telecom spokesperson Katherine Murphy says the Telecom network performed “fantastically well”.

“We’d put a lot of preparation and investment into boosting the coverage,” she says. “We’re very, very pleased.”

Vodafone spokesman Matt East says the telco is “pretty happy”

“There was some congestion around the Viaduct, and at Eden Park at half-time,” he says.

“There were no problems at all at the North Harbour stadium and in Wellington [on Sunday night].”

Communications manager Michael Bouliane says there were no capacity or coverage issues on the 2degrees network in the week weekend.

"The 2degrees network is strong and held up to the increased traffic very well, as expected," he says.

"In fact, I was at both the Viaduct and Eden Park on Friday afternoon / evening, and was quickly uploading photos to Facebook throughout the opening ceremonies and game on my 2degrees smartphone."

Computerworld monitored Twitter during and after the game on Friday and didn't see much comment on the performance of the mobile networks, although we did catch the following exchange:

@nzigel (Nigel Parker): "@TelecomNZ best experience I saw at ground was a Telecom LG WP7 on XT running the official #rwc2011 official app. Vodafone data was broken". @GrantisNZ (Grant): "TelecomNZ How do you know "Vodafone data was broken"? You can't speak for everyone at the game last night dude".

@nzigel replied with this pic of other people commenting on Vodafone's poor performance.

Nigel Parker to @GrantisNZ: "FYI my current job is technical project manager for our [Microsoft's] sponsorship of RWC focusing on software/video platform for the tournament".

Updated: 4.25pm

In response to Chee Pang's comment below Vodafone spokesman Matt East emailed Computerworld and said that Vodafone are making "additional tweaks" to improve their subscribers' experience following some peak congestion in Eden Park on Friday.

He also explained the improvements Vodafone has made to its network in preparation for the Rugby World Cup:

"Vodafone has implemented a detailed programme of activity and huge effort from our technology teams over the last eight months in preparation for RWC. We have completed upgrades to each of the 12 stadiums as well as to five airports and popular tourist destinations such as Coromandel, Ohope, and Queenstown.

"The multimillion dollar investment includes 15 new site, and upgrades of speed and capacity to 85 other sites and 14 cellsites on wheels (COWs) deployed around the country.

"At Eden Park, in collaboration with Telecom, we have undertaken a complete new build of communications where 256 new antenna and 13 kilometres of cable have been installed. Vodafone has seven base stations over seven sectors, which is the biggest concentration of power in NZ, being able to support over 300Mb/s of data and approximately 3,500 simultaneous calls.

"We have been rigorously testing capacity each weekend and further equipment was added after the recent Bledisloe Cup.

"We also have a number of temporary solutions (14 new cell sites on wheels) that can be moved around throughout the event, to where they are needed to cover busy crowd areas like outside the stadiums and fan zones.”

"We believe we have done everything we can, through this multi-million dollar investment in infrastructure, to prepare our network for the Rugby World Cup. However, as with any event where there is a large concentration of people all wanting to the same thing at the same time, there may be delays in certain situations. Just like there may be delays at the bar at half time when it’s time to get a drink because hundreds of other people have the same idea, the same applies if everyone decides to upload a photo of the haka to their Facebook page at the same time."

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