New record at Rock Werchter 2017: Proximus registers a 130% increase of mobile data traffic on its network

In the past few days, Coldplay's concerts, the Graspop festival and Doudou in Mons already reflected the trend: Belgians use their smartphone more and more intensively to share their good times with their family and friends. This trend was borne out in spectacular fashion at the Rock Werchter festival this weekend, during which Proximus recorded a 130% increase of the mobile data traffic on its network compared with the previous year. To enable all festivalgoers to communicate optimally, Proximus significantly boosted the capacity of its mobile network at Werchter this weekend, like it will do at more than 220 other events planned this year. At Rock Werchter 2017, Proximus also deployed LTE 2600 technology for the first time during a music festival, which allowed it to double the capacity of its 4G network.

Big resources for Rock Werchter

This weekend, the music festival season got well and truly underway with Rock Werchter, which received close to 90,000 people per day for four days and a total of almost 80 artists, with bands such as Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and Imagine Dragons topping the bill. Like every year, thousands of festivalgoers experienced unforgettable moments on the Werchter plain. And to celebrate that, a particularly large number of them shared their experiences and emotions with their family and friends, notably by sending messages, photos and videos via the social media! In total, more than 15 Terabytes of data traffic was recorded on Proximus' mobile network during the four days of the festival, i.e. a 130% increase compared to a data traffic of 6.5 Terabytes the year before. To give an idea of what such a volume of traffic represents, it should be pointed out that 1 Terabyte of data corresponds to roughly 3 million photos sent via WhatsApp.

This year, Proximus deployed big resources at Werchter to set up a network able to handle such a strong growth in traffic, especially data. For this 2017 edition of the festival, Proximus deployed seven temporary mobile stations equipped with 225 3G cells and 150 4G cells, i.e. a total of more than 375 cells (compared with 300 cells in 2016). The capacity of this infrastructure set up on the 3 km² area of the event was equivalent to more than three times that installed in a Belgian city of 75,000 inhabitants (like Hasselt or La Louvière, for example). The installation of these antennas required the collaboration of a team of 40 people before the festival and about 10 technicians during the concerts.

For the first time, Proximus also deployed LTE 2600 technology at Rock Werchter 2017, like it will do at several other major events planned to take place this summer in Belgium. This technology makes it possible to double the capacity of the 4G network, which is proving very useful given that more than 80% of data traffic now goes via 4G.

Increased capacity at more than 220 events

In total, Proxmius will boost its mobile capacity at more than 220 events planned this year in Belgium. At the smaller events, Proximus boosts the capacity of its existing infrastructure. At larger events such as Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop and the Spa Francorchamps Formula 1 Grand Prix, Proximus installs a temporary mobile infrastructure in parallel with boosting its existing infrastructure. In 2017, such temporary infrastructures will be set up at more than 100 events.

Proximus' technical teams have a wide range of possibilities available to them to best meet the needs of festivalgoers, such as 30-meter-high temporary mobile antennas, small and large containers equipped with antennas, and temporary antennas that can be installed on roofs, towers or lamp posts. Each time, Proximus' technicians perform a gargantuan task to put in place the best solution adapted to the specific needs of each event.

More than 25 Terabytes per weekend at Tomorrowland

Before Rock Werchter this weekend, the first events of the summer already proved that Belgians use their smartphones more intensively than ever during concerts and festivals, either to post photos or videos on Facebook and Instagram or to communicate with their family and friends via WhatsApp. During the recent concerts of Coldplay at the King Baudouin Stadium, peaks of more than 200 Gigabytes per hour were recorded on Proximus' mobile network. An enormous figure, which shows that sharing via the social media has clearly become a must for people attending concerts. The same goes for the hard rock and metal festival of Graspop, which generated more than 4 Terabytes> of mobile data traffic during the three days it was held, i.e. more than double as much traffic as last year. Another example: at the recent Doudou festivities in Mons, the 4G data traffic also more than tripled compared with last year. And compared with 2015, one can even speak of a 10-fold increase!

In a few weeks' time, we can expect even more impressive figures at Tomorrowland, all the more so now that the roaming charges within the European Union have disappeared, which is likely to encourage international festivalgoers to use their smartphone as intensively as in their country of origin. Thanks to the infrastructures provided by Proximus, in particular the deployment of the LTE 2600 technology, Proximus reckons that it has the capacity required to handle more than 25 Terabytes of mobile data per weekend at Tomorrowland. By way of comparison, the traffic recorded by Proximus at Tomorrowland last year was 9 Terabytes per weekend.

Proximus' technicians therefore expect a blistering summer for their mobile network, but they are more than ready to take on this challenge.


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