The arrival of covid-19 a year ago marked a change in the pattern in the use of telecommunications with exponential growth in telephone and Internet traffic. But it is not a transitory phenomenon. At the beginning of 2021, consumption has soared with an increase of 17% in mobile calls, 30% fixed broadband and 40% mobile data due to the consolidation of teleworking and the rise of mobile platforms. video, according to data from the Telefónica network
In March 2020, lockdown by the telecommunications boom sparked a kind of war economy in the world of telecommunications. Locked up in their homes, citizens worked or went to school electronically, which led to an explosion in the consumption of calls and Internet connection. In the summer, with the partial reopening of the economy and the end of the confinement, this consumption was relaxed. But in the first quarter of 2021, increases in network use have exploded again.
The explanation for this phenomenon is that the professional and leisure habits generated by the pandemic are maintained. The widespread implementation of teleworking, the greater weight of tele-education and the massive consumption of video due to the rise of platforms such as Movistar +, Netflix or HBO have settled into the routine of citizens and it does not seem that they will return to times of prepandemic.
In this last year, users have changed their usage profiles, with a greater use of mobile voice, videoconferencing and cooperative work applications, as well as new trends in personal and leisure services where mobile applications win. gaming, those of streaming video and those for viewing short videos.
Indeed, the declaration of the first state of alarm triggered the use of telecommunications with peaks both in fixed data (with a 143% increase in April 2020) and in mobile data (+ 82%) and in mobile voice (+ 42% last March), according to data provided by Movistar. These increases softened in the middle of last year, with a certain rebound at the end of 2020 that has accelerated in the first months of 2021.
Specifically, fixed data has grown 30% during the first months of 2021 compared to the 19% growth of last year, before the arrival of the coronavirus.In this increase, the growth of video traffic in services on demand plays an important role. , in the personal field, as well as videoconferences and other forms of cooperative work, in the professional. Both services considerably rebounded their use in confinement and a year later they maintain, and even exceed the levels of March 2020.
In mobile voice there has been an increase of 17% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 5% in the same period of 2020 compared to the previous year, which again indicates that the greater use of mobile calls during confinement Due to the impossibility of being physically present, it remains in this year to a great extent related to the fact that mobility restrictions continue. As for mobile data, which had a rebound during confinement, they have recovered their usual levels with a growth of 40% in 2021, the same year-on-year increase as in 2020.
The ranking of the most used applications has also changed in this last year and maintains its growth in the first months of 2021. In fact, the aggregate traffic generated in the Movistar network by WhatsApp, Teams, Skype, Webex, Facetime, Zoom, TikTok and Meet multiplied by 10 at the beginning of the lockdown and, after a reduction during the summer months, it has recovered again, multiplying by 12 with respect to the values of the first months before the pandemic of 2020.
In this evolution, the role of the different applications in total traffic has changed, both in the facet of personal and professional use. WhatsApp is still very important in the field of person-to-person communication, although its traffic level in March 2021 is one third of that reached in March 2020 when it was the most popular video conferencing application. Now, TikTok traffic is leading the way in personal-use apps.
At the enterprise level, Zoom quickly took the lead with the onset of the pandemic, but today other business applications such as Teams have gained ground. The traffic of videoconferencing services for companies was 36% higher in February than that reached in April 2020, and during the snowstorm of early 2021 the peak was reached, with a traffic increase of 70% compared to the peak of April 2020.
It should also be noted the strong increase in gaming that already began during the pandemic months and that in the first months of 2021 it continues to be very high, exceeding the levels of then by 20%. The penetration of consoles and the habit of playing from home is increasing.
More consumption of pay TV but less income
At the end of 2020, the number of pay TV subscribers reached 8.2 million, roughly a million more than a year earlier. The house confinement decreed by the Government finished consolidating the implantation of the American platforms of series and movies such as HBO, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
64% of Spaniards already watch content on pay television, and 52.3% of those surveyed have an account or have at some point seen content from the platforms of streaming, and 34.9% to channels linked to telecommunications operators (Movistar +, Orange TV and Vodafone TV), according to the annual report of the Association for Research in the Media (AIMC). But one thing is that more and more paid content is consumed and quite another is that more and more is paid for them.
And it is that in 2020 there is the paradox that despite that explosion of the streaming, pay television revenues fell 4.1% in 2020 to 2,144 million euros, according to figures from the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC). The main reason for this contradiction is the generalized custom of sharing accounts with friends or family, a real headache for large multinationals that are already looking for effective methods to limit this use and that all who see their contents go through the box. Netflix is already doing tests to restrict access to its service to people who are not the owner of the contract or do not live in the owner’s house, one of its most popular functions.