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Virgin Media O2 Reveals UK Connectivity Habits During 2021

Wednesday, Dec 22nd, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 3,456

Network operator Virgin Media (VMO2) has today published a summary of the United Kingdom’s 2021 connectivity habits across their national mobile, fixed broadband ISP and TV networks, which stems from having analysed the data of tens of millions of customers between 1st January and 10th December 2021.

Overall, VMO2’s fixed broadband and mobile customers downloaded 19% more data than in 2020, with mobile traffic up 45% year-on-year. Likewise, Brits downloaded 18.9GB (GigaBytes) of broadband data per day between January and February 2021, which marks a 52% increase on pre-pandemic levels.

Online video gaming was also responsible for huge spikes throughout the year, with 5th December 2021 marking the biggest data download day – driven by the release of Fortnite Chapter 3. In addition, VMO2 states that the release of Warzone Caldera and Halo Infinite, which dropped 13 hours apart, caused evening traffic to surge to the second-highest level ever on 8th December. Sadly, VMO2 doesn’t provide any supporting figures for these claims.

Summary of VMO2’s Other Findings

➤ Brits watched 15% less news than a year ago (perhaps due to fatigue over pandemic, Brexit or political related news), whilst Sports viewing saw a 24% growth.

➤ As restrictions lifted in June 2021, refreshing social media content via Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat feeds became more important than ever – with usage across the four apps making up 41% of all customer activity.

➤ The busiest days of TV viewing were linked to some of the biggest sporting moments early in the year, including the India vs England Test Cricket, FA Cup clashes and The Super Bowl. And in early December 2021, Premier League matches streamed on Amazon (Prime Video) drove the busiest evening peak of the year, with broadband traffic up 34% on average, and 24% higher than the previous year’s events.

➤ The peak period for broadband and mobile download traffic shifted from 8pm in the evening to 4pm in the afternoon during lockdown in February 2021. By comparison, October 2021 saw peak download traffic return to 8pm, as Brits adapted to new hybrid working patterns and resumed the usual school run again, switching back to Netflix in the evenings.

➤ Google app usage peaked between June and August 2021 as people searched for inspiration online, while an analysis of Google search data by VMO2 showed a 174% uplift in searches for ‘Staycation’ over the last year.

➤ The ‘Peak Netflix’ day was marked by the release of ‘Squid Game’, which drove the most Netflix traffic on 3rd October – jumping 27% over previous weekends.

➤ October was ‘Peak TikTok’ month, with O2 customer usage at its highest – at nearly 7% of all app usage.

➤ According to O2 mobile usage, Amazon saw 85.21% increase in data traffic in the week leading up to Black Friday with data traffic doubling on the day, while PrettyLittleThing saw a midnight surge, as customers shopped on the go to secure their Black Friday bargains.

➤ As the delayed UEFA Euro 2020 Championship kicked off, fans put down their devices to concentrate on the games via traditional TV. As a result, Virgin Media’s broadband network saw significantly lower levels of internet usage during England’s matches, with the biggest drop coming during the final, with customers downloading 28% less traffic compared to the previous week.

➤ The quietest day for data uploads on the O2 mobile network was 30th May as Brits put down their devices to enjoy the warm bank holiday weekend.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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24 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Narhan says:

    UK is the worst country for gamers because of bad internet speed. Regular gamer can’t even upload videos property or do YouTube career.

    1. Avatar photo Danny says:

      What are you even talking about? The UK is one if the better countries for gamers. It has a high connectivity to both Europe and the USA giving brits the best ping for either countries servers. Plus if upload was so bad why are some of the biggest youtubers in the world based in the UK? Pewdiepie, sidemen?

    2. Avatar photo Gary says:


      True @Danny. Thanks for setting this guy straight.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      Afraid you can’t blame UK connectivity for your gaming performance or inability to collect a following. May have to settle for a more normal job or change the content you produce. Playing games for people is a pretty saturated market.

  2. Avatar photo Richardr says:

    Sports viewing up 24% year on year – any connexion with the fact it was cancelled for three months last year?

  3. Avatar photo Nicholas Booth says:

    I’d say 50 per cent of the data traffic is people in fruitless conversations with Virgin Media’s ‘talk to the android’ customer support system, which directs everybody to speak to a Digital ‘assistant’ who has only got two responses.

  4. Avatar photo Graham Coleman says:

    Having been a Virgin Media customer for 5 years, on a regular basis, there is an ‘issue’be it noise on landline, broadband dropout,set top box ‘freezing’ VM is not cheap, we were with Sky for over 20 yes, but VM seemed a positive move forward, how wrong we were, are my expectations too great, or are they really poor, I would welcome input from other’s

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      Bro, did you read all the complaints and issues people are writing all over the forums on the internet before you took the decision to switch?! Virgin is run by the Americans and Indians, and both of them are just giving substandard shit and charging, when you try to leave you get Indians calling you to try and sign you up… anything is better even if the speeds seems slow than virgin because in peak times the whole network is over saturated… if anything better than ADSL is available, go for it even 76mb in better than their M300! There’s these invisible proxies blocking and restricting the internet, it’s so dysfunctional its useless!

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      Also watch out for fake reviews written by the employee of virgin telling you everything is perfect, obviously they’re just looking after their jobs and commissions for spreading lies.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      When it’s good it’s great, when it’s bad good luck.

      Same as every other big ISP really.

    4. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      Not going to indulge the above beyond to point out that the CEO of VMO2’s parent company is American, said company was founded by an American, the CEO of VMO2 is German and the teams in charge of the customer premises equipment are based in the UK and Netherlands.

      P2P isn’t blocked, the internals of the Hub 3/4 are off the shelf Arris.

      Other than that, awesome.

  5. Avatar photo Jesus says:

    I totally agree, nobody should come to the defence of any company undeserving of existence with bad practices and holding the entire industry until openreach pull their thumbs out finally.

  6. Avatar photo Retr0 says:

    I think you should stop being so hot-headed about one person’s personal experience, you had a bad time sure, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be an arsehole to others that actually, have had a finer experience and haven’t taken anything out on you. As well as that, quit with the racism, it’s never time to play those cards. Yeah, they have faults in support, certainly, and the installation took a long time personally, but the speeds were more than perfect and the equipment is good enough when worked with properly, and that’s thanks to being in an area where they were competent, you got the short end of the stick, which is terrible for sure, and it’s fine to leave criticism for it, but there’s no need to stoop down to their level with the acting. That’s it, that’s my rant for today. Bye.

  7. Avatar photo Spurple says:

    This is a needlessly offensive comment that should be deleted.

  8. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    ‘but don’t kiss there ass you Indian as if you own the company, I reckon you’re a cheap Indian call center operator with your ragtag clothing trying to win brownie points.’

    That you’re racist was pretty clear without this comment removing any doubt. Merry, White, Christmas.

  9. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Could be. Cheap, uneducated Indian call centre workers in rag tag clothing that somehow manage to write in far better English, despite it being a second or third language, than your semi-literate ranting.

    Consider sticking to the For Britain forums. The racism and illiteracy fits right in there.

  10. Avatar photo litlephil says:

    I don’t know ‍♂️ why u are all going on we do not live in a dictatorship ship country the UK is a mix race country and we have freedom of speech etc… so if u don’t like something take something else on go to sky or talk talk but I’ve been with virgin since b4 an I’ve never had any trouble I’m V6 TiVo still until the 360 is to my liking so they have not forced us onto there own software. Mobile is on Vodafone until 2025 so 02 can not be blamed. An u pay for what u want if u want movies u pay with any of the companies. If u don’t want to pay go on free view. My landline has also since cable tv no problem. An if the internet is so bad why is Sky an talk talk knocking at the door for a wholesale agreement? So u may find that ur be bk on virgin. 02 only came in today they have already upped project lightning by a further 7 million the archived the docsi 3.1 like said I think u will find if they open there cable up for wholesale the virgin will take off as the main fibre network an city fibre etc will do selective areas. We will see what will come next year when 02 has a full year. So everyone just chill and have a merry Christmas. Virgin have given their ultra HD channel free too for all so merry Christmas and stay safe

    1. Avatar photo Litlephil says:

      Why use such language? Rape is very brizar to to use??? I pay for what I like never had trouble an every year u can phone up an get a new deal like with any media network… I’m just saying I have no problems so I stick with them it’s like if u don’t like Asda go Sainsbury’s… but u need chill out, this is an information page not a slang match page. Like say don’t like it go? But ur words are worrying, but merry Christmas anyway…

  11. Avatar photo Steve says:

    I have just left VM after two decades of loyal custom due to constant inflation busting broadband price hikes. I can see several sides to things. I have had every modem from the Motorola Surfboard and Terayon Terajet before their branded modems and later hubs came along up to the hub version 4. I was a trialist for the first version hub and worked closely with the team at the time to iron out SIP issues to benefit others. The hub 4 is definitely the better hub I have experienced but notice it is more power hungry when we’re all watching energy bills.

    What I came to loathe recently is the lack of ownership when trying to negotiate a new deal, and the fact they must have so many staff dealing with deals and retentions that I was offered four different prices by 9 different people, surely a more fair all round price would cost the same once you remove all of the staffing overheads to deal with? Then again I’m not the owner of their operation so who am I to say.

    I can’t fault the service itself, I found I always received over my paid service in speed. The reliability has been good for me and I’ve never experienced any blocking other than things they have to block. Legit P2P has always been fine for me.

    I’ve still cut the cord and as my area isn’t covered by an alt net, plus there’s no fibre even to the cabinet, I’m on 4G broadband. It’s slower but when I’m paying less than half price, given my energy company went bust so my prices like millions of others has shot up, then it’s time for me to cut a two decade link.

    I feel sad about this as apart from their frustrating customer service, the actual broadband service I received has always been good and it’s an odd loyalty; I’ve never been loyal to energy, mobile, insurance or any of those other things Martin Lewis tells us to switch about. I have been loyal to Virgin but when that loyalty costs me over £250 more each year than a slower rival… well, money talks. Maybe VM will reconsider how it structures its pricing plans in a broadband market that’s becoming increasingly competitive. Who knows.

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      Well I hope other bulk of traffic jam wasteman will remain on virgin, that way, they won’t clog up my 0ms latency fttp from openreach… never looking back, virgin can’t offer me 1gb for free, it’s that shit, but the folk using it just to watch the virgin set-top box or YouTube go enjoy it.

    2. Avatar photo Steve says:

      Alfred I’m not quite sure what I have said for you to use such vulgar and abusive language to me, I was demonstrating my experience of the service. I don’t hold any anger from my two decades as a customer and I was a customer by my own free volition. If you have had a different experience that is fine and I respect you may have experienced a difference from me, but simply because I hold a different view doesn’t entitle you to be abusive to me nor suggest my experience is anything other than factual.

  12. Avatar photo Steve says:

    Oh heck, do we need a doctor?!

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      A priest I think.

    2. Avatar photo Steve says:

      Old man yells at cloud 😉

Comments are closed

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