More evidence has emerged of just what a boost to traditional voice traffic the global COVID-19 lockdown has been. According to i3forum, a not-for-profit industry body enabling and accelerating transformation across the carrier ecosystem, there has been a 20% increase in international voice traffic in March 2020, compared to the same month in 2019, while roaming traffic dropped by 30%.
The average length of calls increased by more than 30% in March and over 60% in April 2020 compared to 2019.
The figures are broadly backed up by numbers from CallRail, a leads-focused analytics platform, which experienced its biggest ever week in terms of usage last week, logging 3.27 million calls , up 39% from 2.36 million in the week of April 6 and 6.82 million minutes used last week, up 52% from 4.48 million the week of April 6.
The surge in calls, it says, is likely a combination of the world waking back up, pent up demand being released and an increased propensity to call in a socially-distanced world. With minutes outpacing phone calls in terms of growth, this suggests people are still trying to accomplish more on calls versus in-person
This is backed up by i3forum: “Changing user behaviours, resulting from the move to remote working and “stay at home” orders, have had an immediate impact on the international voice market. i3forum Insights has seen an initial spike in traffic in March then a return to regular traffic volumes in April, albeit with different patterns as people have adapted to new social and working situations. What is striking is the growth in call duration. Calls are longer and that compensated for the decline in number of calls,” says Philippe Millet, Chairman of i3forum. “The first half of 2020 has really shown the value that traditional voice delivers in challenging times. It remains critical for businesses and consumers.”
The comprehensive market database for international voice services provides participating carriers with new visibility, insights and data from across the industry. Contributors to the database include BICS, BTS, iBasis, Orange, PCCW Global, Tata Communications, Sparkle, Telefónica International Wholesale Services, and Telstra. The database provides intelligence on more than 17,400 destinations.
“The nine carriers currently using the platform have generated over 1,200 logins to the platform per month. This demonstrates that despite the companies operating remotely, i3forum Insights is being well embedded into operational processes. Users connect frequently with an average of 10 logins per user per month, showing the platform’s intensive use and support for carriers’ day-to-day businesses,” adds Millet. “Users of i3forum Insights are seeing these trends and are able to use this intelligence to optimise their businesses and better serve their customers.”
i3forum Insights works by carriers uploading their voice traffic data into the system and comparing data with the rest of the market. All data provided is fully anonymised and remains 100% confidential. The platform, based on i3forum requirements, was developed and is operated by TeleGeography, experts in managing large data sets in the carrier industry. Users can check new data against the latest figures from other anonymous participants and pull data to create custom reports.