O2 Prepares for the Royal Wedding

As the world is gripped by Royal Wedding fever (yawn), mobile phone operator O2 have blogged about their preparations from the big day. As you might expect, there will be a few more mobile phones, texts and picture messages sent from heart of London than you’d get on an average Friday in April but what might surprise you is how much more O2 is predicting.

O2 reckon that there will be an additional 300,000 customers in the London area, each making at least one phone call, receiving four texts / picture messages and sending or receiving one email. The usage sounds a little low to me but they’re the experts. Astonishingly, they expect 327 million pictures will be taken on a mobile phone. That’s a lot.

To cope with the extra traffic, there will additional cells around the wedding hotspots such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the procession route, St James’ Park and Hyde Park, bringing the total number of cells to 283. The London network has been recently upgraded as well, so it’s going to hold up under the extra traffic – fingers crossed.

They’re also expecting people outside of Westminster Abbey to stream the wedding ceremony itself from the BBC’s iPlayer and similar services. That’ll put some load onto the 3G network, nevermind the BBC’s servers.

And to ensure that network maintenance doesn’t have any unintended consequences, O2 has locked the phone network down between the day before and the day after the event and only emergency repairs allowed. Very reassuring for the wedding watchers.

I’m sure other mobile phone providers will be doing similar things but it’s interesting to see a little of what goes on behind the scenes.