Go live! How a mobile operator prepares for the festival season

Large-scale events may generate a 20-fold increase in traffic compared to an average day. Telenor beefs up its capacity at 400 to 500 festivals and mass events attracting at least 4,000 to 5,000 people each every year. At such events, network traffic concentrated on a relatively small area may be up to 20 times higher than on an average day. Providing a technology solution to this challenge requires major preparations from mobile operators wishing to ensure a seamless mobile experience at popular events such as Fishing on Orfű, Balaton Sound, an event attracting tens of thousands of visitors, VOLT, Sziget or EFOTT.

How many antennas do you need for a good festival? 

It is already visible that Telenor’s 4G network in the Balaton region had about 60% more data traffic this June than in the same period in 2018. Telenor fulfils increased network demand at several hundreds of festivals and large-scale events every year by temporary capacity expansion and retuning at existing base stations and by the installation of temporary mobile base stations. Summer is the peak season of the year when 80% of temporary base station installations and 66% of capacity expansions take place. These tasks cannot be handled on a routine basis as with mobile Internet usage rising the degree of temporary expansion is also getting higher by roughly 10% every year. And in addition to fast download rates, now fast upload rates are also in demand as people want to share their festival experience on social media platforms using live video.

Responding to the special needs of festivals, Telenor reinforces its network and monitors traffic to ensure high-quality service. Large-scale festivals may have up to 50,000 to 60,000 visitors per day generating traffic similar to that of a town with a similar population. At last year’s Balaton Sound festival, for example, data traffic exceeded that of Kaposvár, a nearby town with about the same number inhabitants. At VOLT Festival, Telenor customers generated traffic equal to 60% of the total Hipernet traffic of nearby Sopron. 
Festivals also tend to boost roaming traffic. At Sziget in 2018, 2G roaming exceeded the traffic of domestic customers in the evening hours, while 3G roaming was the double of domestic traffic. 

Go Live Fesztiválszezon

Base stations in the area of festivals – and at the music mixer

At Sziget Festival where users move sparsely in a large area, Telenor will install radio transmitters of varying capacities at 17 points, while at Balaton Sound where visitors are concentrated in a much smaller area, 7 additional temporary base stations will be set up in addition to enhanced network coverage. Most of these temporary base stations are truck-mounted mobile structures (so-called cells on wheels) or base stations equipped with additional radio units. Festivals tend to have the highest user density per cell in front of the main stage, of course. An important spot to be provided targeted coverage is the music mixer where Telenor will install an additional base station at Balaton Sound. 

Event map

In addition to Balaton Sound, Telenor will install temporary base stations also at other popular festivals attracting a large number of visitors in the Balaton region including Open Road Fest in Alsóörs, Everness Festival, Paloznaki Jazz Picnic, STRAND Festival, Valley of Arts, Zorall Beer Olympics in Alsóörs and Boglári Szüreti Festival. 

Telenor compiled a list of useful tips for young festival visitors and their parents on how to increase safety at mass events. Please click here to access the article: “How do you prepare? 5+1 tips for young people and their parents for festival safety”