Image of Russia with football for the 2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia: The most digital football competition in history

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia: The most digital football competition in history

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is starting this week, and it is pegged to become the most digital football competition in history. Expectations are that it will significantly exceed the figures of the previous edition in Brazil, that generated 300 million tweets in its first phase alone, as well as 2,000 million tournament-related searches.

Russia is set to experience the highest connectivity demand in its history. Not only will over 500,000 million foreign tourists be arriving at 11 hosting cities, but most are expected to be eager to share their experience with family and friends in real time using their devices

Fans look for WiFi before travelling to Russia

Bearing in mind Russia is not part of the EU, and therefore the 2017 regulation unifying European telecommunications networks does not apply: European SIM cards are unregulated in the country, and visitors will be required to use roaming. To avoid high costs, many fans will prefer to connect to WiFi networks.

“Connectivity has become an essential need in our daily lives and it reaches its peak in events of this kind which generate a huge volume of data from millions of devices”, highlighted our CEO, Alex Puregger.

In preparation for this demand, most of the event guides provided by organizations such as FIFA have included a specific section with information on where to connect. They indicate that open WiFi networks are already provided in public spaces in some Russian cities. Coverage should be available in main streets, parks and tourist attractions, as well as most transport hubs.

However, there are significant differences to WiFi access across the country. While it should be relatively easy to access services in big cities, in smaller and more remote ones, such as Kaliningrad, access to WiFi in hotels and small businesses may be harder to find or might only be available as a paid service. Additionally, fans should be aware that experts are questioning the security of these open WiFi networks. Their advice is to think carefully about the type of information shared over them.

Fon to the rescue!

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, we will provide partners and customers access to WiFi in over 10,000 locations thanks to an agreement with the operator ER Telecom. The WiFi service covers 32 cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and eight more of the 11 cities which will host the event.

“The ability to rely on quality WiFi that meets the expectations of attendees will be a decisive factor in how they rate their overall user experience. I’m delighted that we can offer this experience via our expansive network and thanks to our advanced technology that will provide a seamless connectivity experience”, added Alex.

Access to WiFi networks will be provided by our new Fon WiFi app (available globally) as well as through an SDK integrated in partners’ apps, such as those of Virgin Mobile México and Travel Club. Users will be connected automatically to available WiFi networks when they are close to an ER Telecom network access point even when apps are closed.

So if you’re attending the World Cup, make sure to take advantage of our WiFi network, and have a great time! And as usual, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest industry insights and Fon | Fontech news, follow us on.