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Topic # 93413 21-Nov-2011 10:19 Send private message

Just thought I would mention here that the VF network failed utterly to cope with the demand from the crowd attending Toast Martinborough yesterday.

Previously this has never been a problem, but yesterday I was unable to make a single phone call or access anything on the 3G network (email or web) from 0730 until after 2000hrs!

My wife spoke to a number of people at work in Wellington this morning who had been unable to even get signal bars on their iPhones all day and missed meeting up with friends etc because they had no comms.

I actually rang VF in the middle of the day who admitted that the cell site was 'at capacity'. I do not know why this has never been the case in previous years.

Especially embarrassing since Vodafone have sponsored the event before (I do not know if they did so this year). 








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  Reply # 547757 21-Nov-2011 10:41 Send private message

maybe its because of all those iphones and other data devices chugging away at the data?




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  Reply # 547759 21-Nov-2011 10:47 Send private message

Could be.

I have never experienced anything like it before.

We have concerts and so on here regularly with large crowds attending and it has never happened then. 








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  Reply # 547760 21-Nov-2011 10:48 Send private message

The national fielddays at mystery creek had the same problem, think XT was in the same boat too according to the waikato times hence organisers are look at putting in the likes of wi-fi to help 'em out.

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  Reply # 547761 21-Nov-2011 10:48 Send private message

I thought they brought in mobile towers at these types of events?







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  Reply # 547762 21-Nov-2011 10:50 Send private message

I thought so too.

(V jealous of your stats there! I get download of 3.40 on a good day!!) 








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  Reply # 547766 21-Nov-2011 10:59 Send private message

Zeon: I thought they brought in mobile towers at these types of events?


They did at the fielddays but guess it was a case of not enough 

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  Reply # 547821 21-Nov-2011 12:46 Send private message

Deploying temporary coverage for an event such as this is nowhere near as easy as it was a few years ago when the only requirement was GSM voice. A GSM network has a fixed capacity and once that is reached phones can't make calls until channels come free.

Because of the way CDMA based air interfaces work capacity isn't a fixed number, it's a mathmatical equation based that can constantly change. Coverage is also a variable thing, with the coverage area changing constantly depending on the numbers of users and the noise floor of the site. As more users connect the noise floor increases, it then reaches a point where theoretically nobody can access the network.

You've then got to factor in iOS and Android devices that want to maintain a constant data connection and cause a massive hit on network resources.

Telecom and Vodafone spent millions on a network to ensure enough capacity at Eden Park, unfortunately this sort of setup can't easily be deployed to a mobile location. As for adding mobile cellsites? You have to remember spectrum is a finite resource as well, so you can't just keep parking up mobile cellsites.

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  Reply # 547854 21-Nov-2011 13:36 Send private message

Also you need to take into account extra transmission to the COWs,




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  Reply # 548285 22-Nov-2011 10:18 Send private message

It appears that the Eden Park situation was really well managed - in comparison I was recently at the Melbourne Cup Carnival and was really suprised how poor the data availability was.

Even though Telstra has the reputation of being the Gold-standard provider in Australia the network data availability was horrible this year and Three and VFAU connections also had poor/intermittent data availability - calling was much more available than data and I suppose that was because it is handled differently.

With around 100000 people attending Melbourne Cup Day (and the Saturday Derby) clearly there would need to be massive capacity to cater well - the Aussie Telcos appear to have not made the efforts which were made for Eden Park despite the fact that the Spring Racing Carnival occurs every year with large crowds - the costs obviously don't support having infrastructure for just a few days per year and having enough COWs etc.... to cater for such crowds is probably too costly.

I suppose in the Melbourne example people might be of the opinion that the Victorian Racing Club should really look at having a better availability of data whether it be cellular/WIFI etc as the cost of many tickets/packages is hundreds of dollars and in today's world people expect to have access to mobile data. When the betting agencies are also encouraging customers to bet via cellular internet access to mobile data at such events becomes even more important. More and more people are also facebooking, tweeting etc and the mobile companies encourage this so the expectation of good mobile data availability is likely to become greater with time. It will be really interesting to see how large event operators and the mobile companies handle these situations as expectations increase.



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  Reply # 548319 22-Nov-2011 10:54 Send private message

I have never been to the Melbourne Cup (although I have been to the city).

Given that somewhere like London must have hundreds of thousands of calls and data demands every minute of the day on every cell site, and rarely if ever does one hear of this sort of issue there, it shows just how much more capacity they must have in say VFUK.

Melbourne has a population of circa 4 million, so you would think that they would have a pretty comprehensive network capacity and that the fact that 100,000 of them are in one place would not cause a problem!

Even last year in India, where there are a gazillion people everywhere, I never found my phone jammed up like I did on Sunday, 85km from NZ'z capital city..!

I assume that, had I needed to dial 111, the system would have forced that call through somehow, but I cannot say that I have too much faith in the assumption!

The oddity for me is that it has never happened in previous years at Toast, or at any of the several large concert events that they hold here each year. 








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  Reply # 548328 22-Nov-2011 11:06 Send private message

Geektastic: I have never been to the Melbourne Cup (although I have been to the city).
Given that somewhere like London must have hundreds of thousands of calls and data demands every minute of the day on every cell site, and rarely if ever does one hear of this sort of issue there, it shows just how much more capacity they must have in say VFUK.


Get a count of how many cells are in London compared to Toast Martinborough,






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  Reply # 548329 22-Nov-2011 11:08 Send private message

I was making the comparison to Melbourne, not Martinborough!










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  Reply # 548330 22-Nov-2011 11:09 Send private message

johnr: Also you need to take into account extra transmission to the COWs,


Dairy or beef? Them's the only cows in Martinborough! 








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  Reply # 548331 22-Nov-2011 11:09 Send private message

Did you try 2G voice or 2G SMS? I am wondering whether 2G SMS would have a better chance in these high traffic situations.



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  Reply # 548338 22-Nov-2011 11:24 Send private message

I did indeed.

No dice.

I spent about 30 minutes on the phone to VF customer 'services' (via landline as my mobile simply got 'Call Failed' on 18 attempts!) and eventually had it escalated to the point where someone checked with the network engineers who reported the cell site at 'complete saturation' at 11 am or thereabouts.

We tried switching off 3G, sending SMS messages and so on - absolutely nothing worked.

Will I get any credit on my bill as compensation for bad service? Of course not. 

Imagine the discussion in VF Corporate Communications about sponsoring an event your customer's phones won't work at...! 








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