Ericsson Mobility Report June 2020 – Update.
The first months of 2020 saw the spread of a novel coronavirus around the globe. Subsequent behavioral changes, due to lockdown restrictions in many countries, caused measurable changes in the usage of both fixed and mobile networks.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) forced an unprecedented number of people all over the world to change their workplace from office to home and become accustomed to new routines in their daily lives. As new digital behaviors are forming, the critical role of communications service providers to support a functioning society with flawless digital communication capabilities in times of crisis has become apparent.
Network traffic and service impact.
As people spent more time online at home, network traffic loads shifted geographically from city centers and office areas to suburban residential areas. The largest share of the traffic increase as lockdowns went into place was absorbed by the fixed residential network, but many service providers also experienced an increased demand on the mobile network.
Networks are dimensioned to support traffic demand during peak hours of usage, which for data traffic normally occurs in the evening. However, the data traffic generated as people worked from home also created additional peak hours of usage during daytime. It was primarily these peak hours of data usage that needed to be supported with a sufficient level of network performance to avoid service quality degradation, e.g. by measures like capacity upgrades, load balancing and traffic optimization.
There are different minimum network throughput requirements for various apps that need to be maintained to provide a service at a specific quality level, such as fast web download times, short video start times and good picture quality. Conversational and bidirectional apps, such as video calling, require at least 1Mbps downlink/uplink throughput, while media consumption could require up to 20Mbps downlink throughput for a good service quality.
The increased data consumption was mainly driven by a rising usage of bidirectional remote work-related apps, such as audio, web and video conferencing, entertainment apps (streaming video and audio), social media and messaging. Networks rising to the challenge A substantial increase in the volume and duration of mobile voice calls across networks – ranging from 20 to 70 percent – was observed in the most impacted regions during the initial lockdown phase.
Mobile data traffic growth was typically moderate, or even negative, ranging from -10 to 20 percent in different networks. However, the traffic increase was unevenly distributed, with some cells experiencing a large increase despite overall moderate or even decreasing traffic growth throughout the network. In markets with limited penetration of fixed residential networks, the mobile data demand increase was especially high. In general, service providers managed to provide sufficient network performance despite changing traffic patterns and increased traffic demand.
In some markets, a contributing factor to mobile data traffic growth was that service providers made temporary changes to data plans and either increased the “bucket size” or allowed unlimited data for a certain period of time.
Ericsson Mobility Report June 2020
© Ericsson 2020