Vodafone registered nearly one year of traffic growth in first week of lockdown
Voice and Data|April 2020
Vodafone registered nearly one year of traffic growth in first week of lockdown
As India moves towards the second phase of nation-wide lockdown, the increased demand for the internet seems to have stabilized after the sudden surge—over 45%— during the first week beginning 25 March 2020, when the whole country started working from home and education went nearly 100% online. According to industry sources, the data traffic of the three private-sector players jumped from 250 petabytes per day in December 2019 to nearly 365 petabytes per day end of March 2020. This has kept the telcos and their technology heads on their toes and Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) CTO Vishant Vora is no exception. In an email interview with Shubhendu Parth, he shared details of the initiatives taken by VIL in ensuring uninterrupted voice and data services, and how its investments in cutting-edge technologies helped in meeting the surge in demand.
Shubhendu Parth

Shubhendu Parth (SP): What is your estimation of the surge in demand for data across India during the lockdown? Are we moving closer to the full capacity utilization of mobile networks in the country?

Vishant Vora (VV): As lockdown came into effect, people were suddenly isolated and they started spending more time on their smartphones. Whether it is to buy medicines or groceries, answer work emails, consume news and entertainment or even stay in touch with loved ones via various social media apps, the smartphone has become our primary link with the outside world. We witnessed a sharp spike in data usage since the COVID-19 outbreak in India. After the initial steep rise, we are seeing data demand stabilizing a little. The telecom industry is working closely with the government and other stakeholders to ensure seamless connectivity and access to the internet, especially for delivering critical services.

We have experienced nearly one year of traffic growth within the first week of lockdown. The world’s largest network integration project undertaken by VIL over the last year gives us more capacity headroom, as do some of our latest technology deployments that make the utilization of the spectrum far more efficient. Our 12,000+ ma-MIMOs (multiple-input and multiple-output) that are deployed across key markets are substantially helping in managing the traffic spike. We are deploying capacities across using all means, including the addition of cell on wheels (COW) sites wherever appropriate.

SP: Experts believe that none of the telcos in India is equipped to handle this sudden rise in data consumption across the country. How is VIL managing the spike in load?


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April 2020