Telefonica: Traffic Down 13% as People Get Out

As Spain opens up, fixed Internet use is going down. It’s too soon to be sure of a pattern, but ultimately traffic growth should return to 20%-40% per year. Telefonica reports a 13% drop in traffic demand at 8 p.m. in the first week. Mobile demand has fallen 6%.

Mobile traffic was only slightly affected by Covid; at one British carrier it actually went down. People at home often connected via Wi-Fi and their landline insead. I expected problems in Africa and India, where there are few landlines, but few have been reported. Even in India, mobile traffic growth was well under 20%.

Mobile traffic growth has been falling dramatically for several years, with most developed countries seeing rates under 40%.

Some carriers report growth down to 25%, falling. The technology is continuing to improve ferociously, with the cost to deliver a bit falling ~40% per year. Most areas have a glut of capacity, holding down prices.

In most countries, fixed network traffic rose about 20-30% virtually overnight under lockdown. That’s the typical annual growth recently. Until about three years ago, fixed traffic consistently rose about 40% per year. The growth rate has fallen, perhaps because you only can watch a certain number of hours of Netflix each night. There is a slight move to wireless-only broadband, but no large trend in most countries.

Telcos spend millions creating false impressions of capacity limits to justify government favors.

From the company, in Google translation

The departures allowed to people over 14 years in the afternoon are reflected in a decrease in fixed data traffic

According to Telefónica data

  • The drop reaches 13% from 20:00 with a recovery at 21:00 and higher values ​​from 22:00
  • Also the Telefónica network has detected a slight decrease from 20:00 in mobile data, around 6%, as well as in mobile voice of 9%
  • Gaming continues to track traffic wobbles for days based on events, software updates, betas, and game releases

Madrid, May 11, 2020.- Phase 0 of lack of confinement , which allows people over 14 years of age to leave in the morning and after 20:00, has been reflected in network traffic that since the beginning of This phase registers a decrease of 13% in the traffic of fixed data as of that hour.

This drop, which includes applause also at 8:00 p.m., continues until 9:00 p.m. to rise again after that time and recover its high values ​​around 10 p.m.

This decrease in afternoon use is reflected in almost all services, such as WhatsApp or videoconferencing tools. For example, the most widely used video conferencing applications have registered a slight decrease of 15% in the late afternoon, which was the time of greatest use of the whole day.

Telefónica has also detected less mobile data traffic, although it is not as relevant as in the fixed network, since users can continue to use their mobiles while walking. With all this, the drop in mobile data traffic in the hour of greatest demand in the afternoon has been 6% compared to the usual levels in recent weeks.

Mobile voice has also seen a slight reduction in the afternoon peak, which occurred around 21:00. In fact, this “peak” has been 9% lower this week than the levels of previous weeks.

Gaming deserves a separate chapter which, after the second maximum value during the crisis reached on April 29 caused by the release of new games and software updates, traffic has stabilized again without great fluctuations. However, gaming is a very demanding type of service with the network since peaks can occur overnight, coinciding, as indicated, with events, launches or updates.

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