Record texts, congestion forecast for NYE
A new service could help overcome the SMS avalanche on New year's Eve.
Telcos are preparing for record levels of texting this New Year's Eve and several services are offering to deliver your pre-written messages at midnight to avoid drunken fumbling and network congestion during the post-countdown crush.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone expect to ring in the new year with more than 61 million, 72 million, and 70-90 million text messages sent by customers respectively.
Vodafone expects 60 million to 80 million calls on its network during the New Year period, while Telstra expects 2.5 million STD calls during the New Year's Eve rush hour alone.
Telstra and the City of Sydney's 2012 New Year's Eve app. Photo: Telstra
Telstra is preparing for 2.6 million picture messages, a 70 per cent jump on last year, while Vodafone expects to deliver 60 per cent more.
Vodafone said it had handled double the anticipated number of texts and calls made on Christmas Day and was expecting a similar result on New Year's Eve.
All telcos are implementing extra mobile capacity at popular event locations.
Telstra said its network capacity had been boosted in the run-up to New Year's Eve, including upgrades to 12 mobile base stations near Sydney Harbour, three new base stations in the city centre and a temporary network site in The Domain.
But the company admitted there could still be some temporary issues sending and receiving messages.
"While we do everything possible to enhance the capacity of our network, there will always be times during events such as NYE (especially at midnight) where a customer may have difficulty making calls or sending messages, but this will only be temporary," a spokesman told AAP.
Optus has made a series of permanent network upgrades at popular holiday spots across Australia.
"Our customers can be confident that we have been working hard throughout the year to ensure our network is capable of providing optimum coverage," Optus's Claire Gill said in a statement.
Telstra partnered the City of Sydney to create the 2012 Sydney New Year's Eve app that allows users to enter up to 50 texts before 6pm and have them delivered free to family and friends from midnight.
But regular text messages will be heavily supplemented by social networking posts, with an Optus-commissioned survey of 1032 Australians finding 22 per cent planned to jump onto social media sites to wish friends and family a happy new year. It forecasts that on New Year's Eve the peak load of mobile data will be 54 per cent higher than last year.
Facebook's “midnight delivery” feature promises to send private messages to the Facebook inboxes of your chosen friends and family at midnight.
The Optus survey found that our obsession with gadgets is now following us on holiday.
While half of respondents desired a device-free holiday, a third were stressed by the thought of leaving home without their gadgets.
Optus said the average family was planning to take more than four devices such as mobiles, laptops, music players and cameras on holidays.