I posted here on Monday that I was interested in whether or not the Melbourne Cup was “the race that stops the nation” and we were going to put this to the test by monitoring traffic on the Telstra network. The results are in, and it is true at 3:00 on the first Tuesday of November, Australia stops (or at least significantly slows!).

National voice traffic on Telstra’s mobile phone network decreased by over 30% – back to the level seen at 7:00 in the morning. It looks like we stopped watching cats on YouTube (20 percent decrease in traffic) and started watching horses on the Telstra racing app. The amount of email sent across the Telstra network also decreased by a third as switched off our laptops and switched on our televisions.

What is really interesting is that this is not a Victorian phenomenon – in fact the biggest decrease in calls was seen in WA where traffic dipped by 42 percent, followed by the Northern Territory which experienced a decrease of 37 percent.

However, in putting down the phone and the email we very quickly returned to our devices as soon as the race was over – traffic to the mobile TAB site was less when the race was being run than at any other time between 10:00 to 5:00 yesterday, but at 3:16 jumped by more than 500 percent from its low at 3:05. While SMS traffic decreased by about a third at 3:06 when we were watching the race, it surged by about 75 percent above the average for the day at 3:10 when the race was completed.

So yes, the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the nation – but only momentarily as we’re all quick to get back to technology and share our experiences with our friends and family.

Check out the charts below.