As the final whistle sounded on the 2019 Rugby World Cup, EE’s data team looked into how fans used their mobiles to follow the home nations during the tournament.
The early morning schedules, with games kicking off at 08:15, 09:00 and 11:00 for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, drove spikes in mobile data on the EE network, as fans opted to watch on phones and tablets in bed, or while out and about with family and friends.
England’s early morning weekend win over New Zealand drove the largest relative spike in mobile traffic of the knockout rounds – up more than 20% on normal traffic levels. And as news spread of what was perhaps an unexpected half time lead against the All Blacks, we saw a big increase in traffic as fans tuned in for the second half.
Wales’ highest data spike came in the Friday morning bronze final match against New Zealand, rather than their arguably more important semi-final against South Africa – largely because it was played on a Friday morning. The 09:00 start saw fans tuning in on their way to work and at their desks to watch Warren Gatland’s last game in charge, and Wales’ time in the tournament come to a close.
As England took to the pitch in the final against South Africa, more fans had dragged themselves out of bed or made sure all eyes were on a big screen for the big occasion. Data usage was down significantly compared to both England’s quarter- and semi-final. Those who were watching on mobile, switched off in droves at half time, to see what social media made of the against-the-odd score line. Facebook and Instagram topped the charts for traffic uplift, before viewers headed back to ITV Player and Sky Go for the final forty minutes of the tournament.
But it wasn’t England’s tense final or their incredible semi-final which drove the biggest spike on EE’s mobile network. The 11:45 Thursday kick off of England’s group game vs USA saw the most fans take to the small screen, likely tuning in from desks around the country to see England cruise to a 45-7 victory.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said: “The early morning kick-offs have meant that mobile viewing has been a huge part of this year’s Rugby World Cup, with fans turning to their smartphones and tablets to make sure they’re not missing out on the action. We invest in the EE network so our customers can stay connected to the things that matter most and never miss a moment, wherever they are.”