This year’s World Cup was full of inspiring Cinderella stories and jaw-dropping upsets. But of all the players making a dramatic and surprising impact this year, the one with the most long-term impact may very well be mobile.

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World Cup 2018 on mobile

The Russia games are the latest – and greatest – major spectator event to show that device-driven viewing is on the rise. Earlier this year we saw increases in mobile-viewing during major events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics. But the World Cup usage stats make it clear that this trend is here to stay.

 

Record breaking live-streams

We know there's a massive appetite for live-streamed sports, and the usage data backs that up. T-Mobile’s network saw unprecedented spikes in streaming traffic on match days:

  • On July 11, when Croatia squeezed out England in extra time during the semi-finals, the spike was 130% above normal.
  • When Croatia upset Argentina 0-3 on June 21, traffic was up 150% over normal usage.
  • The six goals made when France bested Croatia during last Sunday's final placed the game in the record books -- it was the highest-scoring championship match since England’s 4-2 win over West Germany in 1966. That match delivered a traffic spike of 110%.

 

Days with multiple matches saw similar or even higher spikes. On June 27, when there were simultaneous games (South Korea vs. Germany and Mexico vs. Sweden), T-Mobile saw a staggering 180% boost over normal activity and measured a record-setting 1.1 Tbps of data traffic.

 

“This is exactly why we built a network with this level of capacity – the world is rapidly moving towards mobile,” said T-Mobile CTO and native Englishman Neville Ray, whose excitement may have been briefly dampened when his team was sent home before the finals. (Better luck in 2022, Three Lions!) Ultimately, T-Mobile saw huge traffic spikes almost every day of the World Cup -- check out some particularly noteworthy matches below.

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More data about data

If you're interested in the way mobile viewing trends are moving, visit our Newsroom for more details about World Cup live-stream stats. We've charted usage during another notable sporting event, too -- take a look at some interesting network usage stats from this year's Superbowl! Whether you're live-streaming during a sporting event, posting to social during a big game, or sending a victory shout to a group chat -- we're rooting for you!