Massive 35TB Telstra record set by Taylor Swift Eras Tour at MCG

Taylor Swift Eras Tour Telstra network
Taylor Swift performing in Adelaide in 2015. Photo by Chaz McGregor on Unsplash

In the wake of global popstar Taylor Swift’s sold-out Eras Tour shows at the MCG, Telstra crunched the numbers to show an interesting glimpse of just how much data attendees use while at a concert. The short answer? A lot.

Concert-goers used roughly 35 terabytes (TB) of data across Swift’s three Melbourne shows, according to Telstra’s figures. The telco likened it to 15,500 hours of video or the equivalent of continuously streaming the Eras Tour concert film on loop for 1.7 years.

Reports suggest that each of Swift’s performances at the MCG attracted 96,000 people, which would’ve put serious strain on network infrastructure. Telstra claimed that nearly 200% more data was used at these concerts compared to the next biggest concert at the MCG.

Additional reporting by WhistleOut shed more light on how Australia’s telcos handled one of the country’s biggest concerts in recent history. One interesting factoid is that sports stadiums are designed to deliver stable network connectivity to people sitting in the stands, so people standing on the field may have struggled. It makes sense, considering that the field is usually reserved for competing athletes and not concert punters.

Telstra shares Eras Tour by the numbers

Optus didn’t reveal exact download details but mentioned that attendees uploaded 1.7TB of data during the first Melbourne show – double the data from Ed Sheeran’s first 2023 MCG show. Vodafone customers used around 1TB per show. Combine all three telcos, and that’s a huge amount of data – at least 14TB per show, based on the available stats.

Data use reportedly peaked just before the concert began, remaining steady throughout the night. Attendees used less data during Swift’s surprise songs, following the 1989 era, and usage peaked again post-concert.

Ahead of Swift’s Sydney shows at Accor Stadium, Telstra confirmed that it’s boosting network coverage to keep up with demand. Specifically, it’s bringing a Cell-on-Wheels to augment the stadium’s recently upgraded 5G infrastructure to help keep people connected.

Although a relatively light and fluffy story, it’s a fascinating look behind the scenes at how telcos tackle mass network congestion at major events.

Oh, and for the record, my favourite era is 1989. “Welcome to New York” is a bop.

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