Pandemic shows the important of mobile voice

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that mobile voice is still a vitally important communication channel, one that becomes even more important in a crisis, according to analysts GlobalData.

Andy Hicks, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, said: “A third of the world’s population is stuck at home, yet mobile phone calling has increased during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Classic text messaging has also increased – even with competing with free voice and message channels.”

As countries around the world impose strict travel restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, huge increases in home broadband usage are driven by conferencing tools, streaming media, and gaming. But traditional mobile services are also exploding: AT&T reports that mobile voice minutes are up anywhere from 25-41 percent compared to an average (pre-COVID-19) day. In Spain, mobile operators banded together to ask customers to shift their calls to landlines after a 50 percent rise in mobile calls.

GlobalData has identified that while the number of mobile calls remains roughly constant, mobile call length has risen substantially. Mobile voice and messaging are more convenient than PC-based communication, and the cellular network provides an alternate connectivity pool when the IP network is strained. Even though mobile networks are in the midst of a technical transition to enable 5G calling, they have been able to fix voice capacity bottlenecks quickly.

Hicks said: “The pandemic has demonstrated that mobile voice is far from dead. Mobile carriers should continue to develop voice and messaging, and other communication and collaboration services can benefit from incorporating mobile network capabilities into their own offerings.”