Skip to main content

Mobile networks in APAC were resilient during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concerts

Taylor Swift is a force to be reckoned with, both culturally and economically. The Eras Tour is the first tour to generate over $1 billion in revenue and her impact on economies has led to people coining the term ‘Swiftonomics’. Perhaps most impressively of all, she’s been able to dominate the music industry — at a time when streaming services have fragmented people’s listening habits — to the same extent as the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson in their heyday.

Swift’s appeal skews heavily towards younger, typically more tech-savvy generations, with nearly half of her U.S. adult fans being millennials.  Swift’s legions of fans also have their name - Swifties. Given the allure of social media, the sheer expense of attending and the difficulty in obtaining a ticket — over one million fans competed for tickets for the Singaporean leg of the tour — tour-goers shared millions of photos and TikTok videos. Now, in this analysis, we show how well mobile networks withstood the surge in usage triggered by the recent The Eras Tour concerts in Asia Pacific.

Three countries in the region hosted The Eras Tour on the following dates:         
Japan (Tokyo Dome, 7-10 February, 2024)        
Australia (Melbourne Cricket Ground, 16-18 February 2024; Accor Stadium, Sydney, 23-26 February 2024)        
Singapore (Singapore National Stadium, March 2-4 & March 7-9, 2024)

We start with a look at Consistent Quality, which measures if the network is sufficient to support common mobile application requirements at a level that is ‘good enough’ for users to maintain (or complete) various typical demanding tasks on their devices. It uses experience indicators such as download speed, upload speed, latency, jitter, packet discard, and time to first byte. Tests that pass indicate that activities such as video calling and uploading images to social media will be possible without noticeable lag or slowdown.

We have included data within 2,000 meters of the center point of each stadium. This is because good mobile connectivity in the vicinity of the venues is vital for booking cabs and rideshares, navigating through traffic, finding parking, and using public transportation. Fans can also explore nearby businesses and services, receive event-related promotions, and use their smartphones to ensure their overall experience is seamless. Additionally, the extended wait times in and around the venue are likely to lead to fans spending more time on their mobile devices.

Swifties at the Tokyo Dome had the most consistent experience by a small margin — 83% versus the 79.3% seen at the two Australian venues during the days when their idol was performing. In addition, remarkably the experience seen during those days at the Tokyo Dome was slightly better than that recorded during the preceding 90 period – both at the stadium and across Tokyo as a whole. The same can’t be said for those attending the concerts in Singapore and Australia as the Consistent Quality scores during the days when they took place were slightly lower than those observed by our users in the 90 days before the start of the concerts.

One of the key factors that heavily influence the quality of smartphone users’ mobile experience is the proportion of time they spend connected to the latest network technologies. Here, we can see that Australian users spent an impressive 26% of their time connected to 5G during the days when The Eras Tour concerts took place at Accor Stadium and Melbourne Cricket Ground. However, they also spent slightly more time without a cellular signal than their counterparts at the Tokyo Dome and Singapore National Stadium. Singaporean Swifties spent the most time connected to 3G — 3% of their time versus the 1.8% seen by those attending the concerts in Australia. Opensignal’s recent analysis on Vodafone’s 3G shutdown in Australia shows mobile network experience improving while Time on 3G is reduced. Additionally, Time with no signal increases only marginally — with most traffic moving over to 5G connections.

Taking a deeper dive into the mobile experience in Singapore — during the days when Taylor Swift performed at the Singapore National Stadium, Singtel users at or near the stadium spent the most time connected to 3G (4.3%), followed by those on M1, with our StarHub users spending less than half as much time as their counterparts on the other two networks that still use 3G. Time on 3G during Eras Tour days for M1 and Singtel users was higher than that seen across the 90 days before the start of the Singaporean leg of The Eras Tour, while the reverse was true for StarHub. All mobile operators in Singapore have plans to shut down 3G by 31 July 2024, having retired 2G in 2017. Operators need to ensure that the 3G switch-off is a smooth transition, and users aren’t left unable to connect to the network.

The success of The Eras Tour and the scale of its economic impact has not gone unnoticed. Indonesia is looking to provide more incentives to attract music, sports and cultural events to boost its tourism industry, through the formation of a $64 million fund to help it bid for spectacles of this kind. As nations increasingly compete on the world stage to host events, it becomes even more important that they go smoothly — and in this day and age, that means providing attendees with seamless connectivity.

Why not stay up to date with all the Opensignal insights and articles by signing up to our newsletter.