What a busy few months it has been. We kicked off the peak roaming season with 2.9 million foreign fans travelling to Russia for the World Cup and ended it with 1.7 million international pilgrims attending the Hajj, in Saudi Arabia. When you add some of the hottest weather on record it made for an interesting summer.
At iBasis we began preparing for European summer in the depths of winter. We increased our backbone capacity threefold and completed multiple individual customer upgrades in the spring, thus further strengthening our IPX ecosystem. We projected traffic expectations with our customers and, based on this profiling, increased capacity in our main data aggregation centers (for example AMSIX) and with our IPX peering partners. We also performed an emergency upgrade within 24 hours, when a customer’s traffic exceeded all expectations.
We were delighted that some of our biggest customers chose to use iBasis for the majority of their traffic and we handled large scale destination migrations for them.
Summer came early this year with the advent of the World Cup in June. LTE signaling transactions almost doubled in Russia; the majority of which was during the group stage, when fans were able to follow their teams’ progress.
But no matter where they were, at home or abroad, fans all tuned in to see the final few matches, particularly if their team was playing. This created some interesting peaks in data usage.
A lot of extra attention was paid by our NOC to our customers whose countries qualified for the World Cup and we provided regular quality updates and analysis of their traffic. It was wonderful to hear how much this was valued.
As the summer progressed the number of roamers continued to increase. Active roamers grew by 60% year-on-year but the peak volume of data they consumed increased by 82%. Subscribers who benefited from the introduction of Roam Like Home last summer became comfortable using their data allowances abroad.
We wrapped up the high season with the Eid celebration and a 75% increase in LTE traffic to Saudi Arabia for The Hajj pilgrimage and a 250% growth in SCCP signaling traffic.
So as we look to the future we are continuing to add new customers and expand our direct reach while we focus on providing the highest quality network, exceptional customer experience and outstanding value for money.