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April 06, 2020
Telecom Operators Under Severe Strain & Regulators Need A Rethink

A collection of articles that speak to the explosion of network traffic from a variety of sources.

Spainish carriers see a 40% spike in network traffic due to COVID-19 by Mike Robuck :

Spain’s top service providers banded together on Monday to ask subscribers to judiciously use their networks in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Telefónica’s Movistar, Orange, Vodafone, Masmovil and Euskaltel said they are closely monitoring and reinforcing their networks, but they are experiencing a “traffic explosion” in recent days due to COVID-19. In general terms, traffic through IP networks has increased nearly 40%, while mobile use was up about 50% for voice services and 25% for data. In addition, traffic from instant messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, has “increased fivefold in recent days.”

With schools suspended and companies telling their employees to work from home, network traffic for remote work platforms, such as Cisco’s Webex, has increased fourfold.

KPN is taking additional measures as a result of coronavirus By Corporate Press Release :

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus the Netherlands and the world find themselves in an exceptional situation. As a responsible telecom operator and employer, KPN is taking measures to protect employees and customers and to guarantee the continuity of its services so that customers can work from home and people in the Netherlands remain connection with each other.

As the whole the Netherlands is making substantial use of the KPN network, we are seeing a considerable rise in the use of our network and a shift in traffic in the network (more from home, less from the office). We are seeing a sizable increase in the number of mobile calls and a rise in internet traffic. Our network is equipped to handle peak load, which usually occurs at the weekend, and at present the network can deal with the increase in business and consumer traffic.

FCC grants T-Mobile temporary spectrum access during coronavirus By FCC Press Release :

March 15, 2020 - WASHINGTON, USA: The Federal Communications Commission today granted Special Temporary Authority to T-Mobile U.S.A. to use additional spectrum in the 600 MHz Band to help it meet increased customer demand for broadband during the coronavirus pandemic. The company requested this authority to make it easier for Americans to participate in telehealth, distance learning, and telework, and simply remain connected while practicing recommended “social distancing.”

Europe gives operators minor throttling concession By Scott Bicheno :

The powers that be in the European Union have said its operators can do a little bit of traffic management if they absolutely have to.

The reason for this minor concession, of course, is that the entire continent is being encouraged, and increasingly compelled, to stay at home the whole time as we try to slow the spread of the COVIS-19 pandemic. Most of them will probably be spending a lot of time streaming video, online gaming and so on, so exceptional levels of both fixed and mobile broadband are expected.

On the demand side, EU bigwigs have been hassling Netflix not to let its customers stream in HD, and now they’re addressing the supply side. A joint statement from the European Commission and BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) addressed coping with the increased demand for network connectivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Canadian wireless carriers look into dropped, incomplete calls as habits shift during coronavirus pandemic By Christine Dobby :

Canada’s biggest wireless carriers say they are working on a fix to address complaints about dropped or incomplete cellphone calls as large swaths of the population change their behaviour in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Canadians are making more cellphone calls than usual as they work remotely, contact government agencies and check in on family members and friends as they attempt to follow social distancing protocols. Many took to Twitter in recent days to complain about not being able to place a wireless call, receiving “all circuits busy” messages, or an increase in dropped calls.

Spanish operators (all) are seeing : IP networks has increased nearly 40%, while mobile use was up about 50% for voice services and 25% for data. KPN in Holland is facing the same challenges All Canadian operators are having problems with voice calls on their network
T-Mobile got special dispensation from the FCC due to increased traffic European regulators allowing throttling for the 1st time Netflix in Europe has been asked/instructed to lower service quality (video) to help offset the strain

The spikes in usage are directly tied to our mobilityView proposition. Very simply :

  • Business usage of personal IT assets (smartphone, wireless plan & home internet) is spiking
  • Personal usage of business IT assets (smartphone) is spiking

It’s impossible to separate our work lives from our personal lives and the devices and networks/plans are being used for both purposes simultaneously on the same end-point.

The challenge is the same but different for both stakeholders :

  • How do employees get fairly reimbursed for business usage
  • How do employers ensure that their costs are contained for personal usage

Operators need to reinvest massively & regulators need to rethink their views & approaches

Telecom Operators Under Severe Strain & Regulators Need A Rethink