Wireline Voice Traffic Surge from COVID-19

The call to quarantine and work from home to stem the spread of the coronavirus has caused a massive shift in network usage patterns, affecting where and when a network is used and the amount of traffic over these broadband networks. These shifts have also led to an increase in wireline voice traffic.

Here are a few examples I’ve found so far:

  • AT&T‘s consumer home calling minutes are up compared to typical days (roughly 30-60% increases).
  • Cogeco reported a 45% uptick in telephony usage.
  • Comcast VoIP and video conferencing is up 212%
  • Sonic‘s voice minutes of use are up by as much as 38%.
  • Verizon reported that total voice was up 25%, whereas wireless was up just 10%.
  • Windstream‘s voice traffic has increased 50%.

This wireline voice surge includes home phone and cloud communications services from these operators. On top of that, some of the data traffic increases also reported by carriers includes Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other collaboration and video chat solutions from OTT and UCaaS players.

Our CEO noted a traffic spike on our platform driven by our CSP customers’ end users. This underscores the importance of home phone in today’s broadband world as well as the flexibility of cloud PBX solutions to let people stay home and work from anywhere.

In comparison, INCOMPAS members reported a decrease in business voice traffic. Given the customer make-up for these CLECs is largely businesses and the liklihood the offices are closed, tsome of that normal traffic shifted to employees’ home and mobile phones. But it may also point to the fact that 1) CLEC members aren’t offering work-from-home/softclient cloud PBX solutions, 2) businesses have basic lines and don’t have that mobility extension option or 3) employees aren’t using them for some reason (not easy to use,  lack of training, etc.).

Our purpose is to connect people. We do that with our platform that CSPs use to deliver a complete suite of cloud communications to their end users. Connecting people is more important than ever as this eloquent piece in the New Yorker, In Praise of the Phone Call, says “There are few things as nourishing as the human voice, especially during a quarantine.” And check out this ad from an old bell company from the 1910s:

Wireline Voice

Have you seen other wireline voice usage stats or spikes in traffic? Share them with me on Twitter @mitchellkp.


Kevin Mitchell