Data use soars over New Year's Eve as Kiwis stay connected digitally

Online celebrations see 80% more data used by Vodafone customers, compared to NYE 2019/2020

This New Year’s Eve saw New Zealanders turn online in massive numbers, with data used across Vodafone NZ’s mobile networks up by approximately 80% compared to last year.

Vodafone New Zealand Head of Platforms, Sharina Nisha, said the company had been preparing for the massive surge, particularly after the 52% spike over Christmas - but that this was an exceptional increase and likely due to people turning to online celebrations with whānau and friends overseas as a result of Covid-19.

Nationally Vodafone customers consumed 630 terabytes (TB*) of mobile data over the New Year’s Eve period**, compared to 350 TB during the same period on New Year’s 2019/20. Volume wise, that’s roughly equivalent to streaming 420,000 hours of high-definition video (based on 1080p at 1.5GB per hour).

Nisha explains: “It’s no surprise that smartphones are now the communication method of choice, and the events of 2020 have seen us all turn to technology to continue to work, live and play remotely - and it was especially evident this New Year’s Eve as Kiwis celebrated with loved ones digitally.”

Kiwis also sent a staggering number of SMS messages of New Year’s cheer, with almost 1 million texts sent around midnight. However this was a decrease of around 11% year-on-year, as people continue to turn to applications that use data such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

“To prepare for this data surge, and ensure continued connectivity for Vodafone customers over the holiday period, throughout 2020 we’ve been adding 4G capacity in lots of areas around Aotearoa. We had a particular focus on upgrading our cell sites all around regional NZ - from Russell to Arrowtown, and Wanaka to Whitianga - to prepare for this bumper summer season.

“We’ve also been working with popular event organisers to bring in additional mobile capacity via our cell sites on wheels (COWs), at festivals like Rhythm & Vines in Gisborne and Gibbston Valley Concert near Queenstown, as we know how important it is to be able to upload content to social media or get in touch with friends while out and about.”

Highlighting the need for event-based mobile coverage boosts, data use at Rhythm & Vines increased by 150% compared to last year. Voice calls were still important however, with Vodafone customers at the three day festival spending more than 200,000 minutes talking to others.

For more information about Vodafone NZ, please visit

*TB: Tera Byte. Tera (T or million million) is a 1 with 12 zeros to its right **These NYE data traffic volumes were measured between 8pm on December 31st and 11pm on January 1st.

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