Telstra offers free mobile internet and the floodgates open

Written by on February 16, 2016 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

Telstra Mobile dataTelstra tried an experiment offering free mobile internet for 24 hours, following the recent outage and the demand proved that the true limit to mobile broadband appetite is the 24 hours in a day!

Adam Smith first expounded the market forces of demand and supply in his publication of “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”.  That was back in 1776, somewhat before the advent of the Internet. Just yesterday, the Australian incumbent operator Telstra, conducted an “experiment” that would have “wowed” the Scottish father of economics. They gave away free mobile Internet for 24 hours and the mobile Internet Demand curve went off the chart!

Recently, Telstra’s customers experienced a mass outage across multiple states, seemingly due to human error. As recompense for this fault and the distress it caused, Telstra decided to test the laws of Mobile Internet demand and supply by throwing a “Big Day of Free Data”. Perhaps they were also testing mobile Internet demand and checking if Smith’s theory was still current.

The numbers reached were staggering. One industrious Sydney customer spent his Sunday tethering his mobile phone to his computer and taking advantage of a 129 Mbps connection speed to download 421 Gigabytes of data, some 7,000% over his normal monthly 6GB data plan. When interviewed he said downloaded all 25 seasons of the ‘How It’s Made’ series, as well as a “few other random TV show seasons” and the whole video game library on the Steam platform. Who said mobile internet demand was just mostly for streaming video.

In a blog post on the telco’s Exchange site today, Telstra Group Managing Director of Networks, Mike Wright, noted that Telstra’s mobile network had its “busiest day ever yesterday” due to the free data allowance. “As soon as midnight ticked over we saw traffic jump up,” said Wright. “It reached weekday peak traffic levels by 8am and climbed rapidly from there.” The “free factor” changes Smith’s market dynamic and has a dramatic effect on the mobile Internet Demand curve.

In summary for that Sunday, Telstra customers downloaded more than 1,800 terabytes of data — equal to 5.1 million episodes of a TV show like Game of Thrones, 23 million downloads of a new music album, or about 1.4 billion downloads of an electronic book.

Seems like Telstra made up big for their human error… Witty customers blogged that they were just helping Telstra test its Internet service and fix any and all bottlenecks ? Let’s hope that Telstra did benefit from this experiment because apparently it is now clear that there is no real limit to Mobile Internet Demand.

More here from Telstra.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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