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76 million text messages to ’beep’ in the New Year


Australians will welcome in 2009 by sending up to 1,000 text messages a second, with more than 76 million predicted to be sent as part of the New Year festivities - the highest number ever.

Telstra Consumer, Executive Director, Ms Jenny Young, said Telstra was boosting its mobile network capacity in special event areas and popular holiday destinations.

“Last year we forecast 53 million text messages, but our customers sent nearly 10 million more. This year, we are expecting a 23 per cent increase on that figure, so we are busy making sure our network is ready for the expected surge in traffic,” Ms Young said.

"In addition to text message traffic, we are expecting our customers to send more than 600,000 picture messages, up 50 per cent on last year as Australians show off their home town’s fireworks and send group photos to each other.

“We’re anticipating more than 16 million mobile calls, up from last year’s 14.8 million record and tens of thousands of video calls,” Ms Young said.

But while record numbers of calls and texts are expected, it seems a lot of the activity is between friends, and new research shows there are some families that are missing out on being contacted during New Year’s, with more than a third of Australian mothers missing out on being contacted by their children, and nearly four in ten males will either not call or are unsure if they will contact their mum to wish them Happy New Year. 1

“We’re really encouraging everyone to make the time to make contact with their families. It’s easy to pick up the phone or send a text message to mum to say thanks and to wish them all the best for 2009,” Ms Young said.

“Making a video call is easy - select the number you want to call, press the dedicated video calling button, or just select ’Options’ then ’Video call’. Check the 3G or Next G™ coverage on your mobile handset and that the people you are calling have a 3G or Next G™ handset and good network coverage in their area,” Ms Young said.

To cope with the anticipated increase in network activity, Telstra has boosted mobile network capacity across the nation at major event areas and popular holiday destinations as it counts down to the New Year celebrations

“We have boosted network capacity to ensure our customers can send their best wishes for the New Year and holiday season. And a small army of dedicated Telstra technicians will be working to help ensure everyone’s calls and messages get through during this busy period.”

Locations where Telstra has boosted mobile phone capacity for the New Year and holiday period:

NSW: Several hot spots across the Sydney CBD and Harbour foreshore areas to cater for the New Year’s Eve celebrations including McMahon’s Point, Blues Point Reserve, Dawes Point, Circular Quay, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and Garden Island. In addition, Telstra has boosted capacity in the Domain including for Carols by Candlelight, Jazz in the Domain, Symphony in the Domain and Tropfest.

ACT: Several hot spots across the Canberra Civic area.

Victoria: Hot spots across the Melbourne CBD. Special events including the Australian Tennis Open, Big Day Out, Lorne Falls Festival, Pyramid Rock Music Festivals.

Tasmania: Marion Bay Falls Music Festival

Queensland: Several hot spots across Brisbane CBD, and popular holiday destinations such as Surfers Paradise, Coolum, Golden Beach and the Sunshine Coast.

South Australia: Several hot spots across the Adelaide CBD, as well as Glenelg, Semaphore and along South Coast holiday points including, Victor Harbor, Encounter Bay, Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island, Middleton, Port Elliott.

WA: Several hot spots across the Perth CBD, Burswood, Ascot, as well as Ascot Racecourse for the Perth Cup, Northbridge, East Perth for cricket at the WACA, and Busselton for the Southbound Festival.

Additional New Year’s calling research findings include:

* More than one third (34.63%) of Australian mothers will miss out on being contacted by their child/children this New Year’s Eve/Day, despite 98.69% who want their children to contact them.

* 36.72% of males will either not call, or are unsure if they will contact, their mum on New Year’s Eve/Day this year

* 10.56% of males will SMS their mum on New Year’s Eve/Day compared to 16.71% of females

* 34.67% of 18-24 year olds who plan to call their mums on New Year’s Eve/Day plan to speak to them for five minutes or less, compared to only 19% of 45-49 year olds

[1] About the research: the research was conducted by PureProfile and commissioned by Telstra and included an online survey of 1000 mothers with children over 18 years of age and 1000 Australians with mothers. The research took place from 15-18 December 2008.


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