VMO2: Record year of data use on broadband, mobile

Data released by Virgin Media O2 reveals consumer connectivity behaviors that shaped 2022 as Britons navigated a ‘new normal’ year and witnessed major historic events from the death of Queen Elizabeth II to the Lioness’ football success in summer

As 2022 brought post-Covid freedoms, demand for data remained at record levels. Virgin Media O2 has seen its biggest ever year of data usage on both its broadband and mobile networks as more and more people come online to chat, stream, share and play. In 2022, customers downloaded 9 percent more broadband data per day than the previous year, with mobile traffic up 36 percent year-on-year.

After analyzing the connectivity trends of tens of millions of customers using anonymised and aggregated data from 1 January to 19 December 2022, Virgin Media O2 reveals the connectivity habits of Britons since 2020:

Train problems forced work at home

Train strikes have kept Britons at home, with the biggest nationwide strike for more than 30 years on June 21, 23 and 25 resulting in a 72 per cent reduction in the volume of crowds in the City of London in compared to the previous week, according to data from O2 Motion. At the same time, broadband upload traffic peaked at 5 percent weekly due to a corresponding increase in video calling on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Download traffic levels also increased by 10 percent, highlighting the country’s reliance on broadband connectivity.

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Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the new Thursdays

Over the year, Tuesday and Wednesday office days have grown in popularity as Britons have adapted to their new hybrid working patterns. O2 Motion’s year-round crowd movement data shows that Tuesday and Wednesday commuter numbers are equally high, overtaking Thursday as the most popular day in the office.

The British flocked to warmer climates

European travel from the UK reached near-pre-pandemic volumes over the summer, according to anonymous and aggregated data from O2 Motion, with Spain continuing to top the list of most popular European destinations as average weekly roaming volume almost tripled in comparison by summer 2021. Roaming charges could cost UK travelers up to £8.9 million per week in some of the most popular summer destinations.

Virgin Media O2 remains the only major mobile network provider not to claw back EU roaming charges, saving the average family of four £100 or more over a two-week holiday.

Gamers have leveled up in broadband data usage

Some lockdown habits have persisted, with online gaming still generating record broadband traffic spikes in 2022. Call of Duty Warzone 2.0The November 16 launch was the busiest day on record for gaming-related broadband data consumption. Second place was December 14th game releases Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Season 1 (Raids) to the side The Witcher 3 Next generation upgrade, with the day narrowly missing out on top spot by just 0.6 Gbps.

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We are streaming for England

Football was responsible for O2’s biggest mobile data spikes this year, with the England v Iran competition opening at 1pm on 21 November producing record mobile data peaks ever recorded on O2’s network. Compared to England’s opening game against Tunisia in the 2018 competition, mobile data traffic increased by 361 percent. The Lionesses who lifted the Euro trophy saw a 49 percent increase in household reach on match day July 31 compared to an average day when the nation was cheering for the women to make history.

The 2022 Premier League and Champions League finals saw a huge increase in mobile data, with mobile network traffic 37 percent and 30 percent higher than their respective 2021 finals. Additionally, during the night of 19 October, when Prime Video broadcast five Premier League matches and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II The pre-download was released, Virgin Media’s broadband data consumption increased significantly before peaking at 9.20pm, when traffic increased by 40 per cent compared to the average night in 2022.

Social networks

TikTok usage continued to grow throughout 2022, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all mobile app usage in November, while Snapchat and Instagram were responsible for just 2.5 percent and 1 percent respectively. Facebook remains the most popular mobile app overall, accounting for more than a fifth (22 per cent) of O2 customers’ app usage in November.

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The highs and lows of the year

  • Thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – More than half of Virgin Media’s TV customers watched the Queen’s funeral, which also saw a drop in O2 mobile data traffic across the UK as 28 million people tuned in to watch, making it one of the events most important television stations in the country.
  • Celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee – Britons visited palaces and docks in their hundreds of thousands over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. O2 Motion data revealed Buckingham Palace as the most popular destination, with 195,000 visitors. Newquay Beach and Blackpool Pleasure Beach increased visitors by 224 per cent and 284 per cent respectively, compared to the same time last week.

Jeanie York, chief technology officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “Looking back to 2022, it’s clear that the reliance on broadband and mobile connectivity is seeing traffic and data usage grow ever more. This year, a series of major events across the nation along with major game launches and continued hybrid work has contributed to a record increase in customer traffic on our network and we see no signs of that changing. With 2023 on the horizon, whatever bring, we will continue to invest heavily to keep the country connected, keep pace with demand and ensure we focus on customer experience and reliability.


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