How are telecom networks faring under lockdown/curfew?


Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on April 16, 2020  /  0 Comments

I was hoping we’d get more reports about congestion caused by changing use patterns caused by people confined to their homes. Here is a report on India.

Despite the impact on their business, India’s operators have complied with regulatory requests aimed at encouraging subscribers to stay at home. These included providing free voice minutes as well as making prepaid accounts valid for a longer period.

While subscribers are evidently topping up their airtime less under the lockdown, they do not appear to be using their devices any less – quite the contrary. Research from analytics firm Tutela showed a 16% surge in mobile data use since the lockdown began.

Conducted for The Economic Times, the study revealed that median download speeds had fallen as much as 36% during peak hours (11AM to 11PM). Tutela noted that “higher packet loss and latency… are also indicators that the network is congested.”

Gary Newbold, VP for Enterprise in Asia Pacific at CommScope, added: “While home Internet services offer plenty of download capacity and are good for surfing the web or streaming movies, they tend to have slower upload speeds. That means sending data — like a video stream to fellow remote colleagues — takes a backseat, creating a sudden surge in uplink traffic that simply did not exist before.”

He added that a sudden spike in the use of multi-party conferencing services such as Google classroom, Microsoft Teams or Zoom was putting a strain on residential internet connections.

Ivo Ivanov, CEO of internet exchange firm DE-CIX International concurred, saying: “We have seen an average 20% jump in data traffic in India in the last three weeks. Collaborative tools, video streaming app and gaming apps now account for around 80% of the total internet traffic in India.”

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