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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Surge in SMS traffic on election day

Surge in SMS traffic on election day

Mar 31, Malaysians were not only reading political blogs or watching campaign videos on YouTube during the recent polls. Figures released by the three network service providers here revealed that people were also thumbing away on their mobile phones to send out or get the latest news of the country's political horizon.

The country's telecommunications companies, Celcom Communications Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd and DiGi Telecommunications Bhd, said they experienced a surge in SMS traffic during nomination day, Feb 24 and polling day, March 8. Figures released by Celcom revealed an increaseby in SMS traffic on polling day.

"On nomination day, about 70 million SMS (text messages) were sent, which is the average number sent on a regular day. But on polling day, our subscribers sent about 80 million messages," said a Celcom spokesman. Though Celcom was not sure how many messages were election-related, the spokesman said the visible hike in SMS traffic showed Malaysians utilised this as a means of communication.

Maxis and DiGi could not reveal their respective figures for that period, but an increase in SMS traffic was also noticed by both telcos. A Maxis spokesman said its SMS traffic increased by 31% on polling day and when the election results were announced. "However, we had made sufficient arrangements for capacity enhancement so there was no disruption in delivery," the spokesman added.

Its spokesman likened the increase to traditionally high-traffic season like New Year's Eve, for instance. Meanwhile, DiGi recorded a 5% increase in traffic during nomination day. SMS traffic grew by 15% on polling day. An industry analyst said Maxis might have recorded similar numbers as Celcom. "As DiGi has a smaller subscription base, the numbers may be about 15% to 20% lower than Celcom's," he said.

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