The race that stopped us talking, texting and tubing

Media Release, 07 November 2012

Was it the race the stopped the nation? Maybe, but it was definitely the race that stopped email, phone calls and even YouTube!

Analysis of customer usage on phones and computers has revealed that when yesterday’s Melbourne Cup started mobile phone calls on the national Telstra network dropped by a third, email traffic dropped by 33 per cent and data usage dropped by 18 per cent. We even pulled ourselves away from watching videos on YouTube with 20 per cent fewer Telstra customers heading to the video sharing site.

Mike Wright, Telstra’s Executive Director of Networks and Access Technology, said that customers around the country turned off technology and diverted their attention to the race.

“Looking at the behaviour of our customers we think we can say with confidence that if the Melbourne Cup isn’t the race that stops the nation, then it certainly goes close to stopping us using technology,” Mr Wright said.

“We saw significant decreases in all forms of traffic over our networks as soon as 3pm came and the horses entered the starting gates. It seems that almost as soon as Green Moon past the post and correct weight was called people started either gloating or commiserating with their friends and then gradually returning to work as normal. This was most stark with SMS traffic dropping by approximately a third at 3:06 as the race was being run, then surging by about 75 percent above the daily average at 3:10 when the race finished. 

“The only area where we saw an increase in traffic at the time of the race was through the Telstra Horse Racing app where people could live stream the Cup, and we saw usage of this app skyrocket,” Mr Wright said.

On a state by state basis it was Western Australia winning in a canter for the most dramatic drop off, with 42 per cent less calls made while the race was on. Northern Territory came in second with a 37 per cent decrease and South Australia rounding out the placings with a 34 per cent drop.