Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on mobile networks worldwide

Coronavirus’ impact on mobile networks worldwide

Coronavirus’ impact on mobile networks worldwide

Coronavirus’ impact on mobile networks worldwide

authors: FIREPROBE.NET, 2020-03-16

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the associated quarantine, the Internet is used more frequently and intensively. In the recent days, we have observed decreases in average speeds for mobile operators in FIREPROBE statistics.

Our globally available mobile applications for Android and iOS:

give us the opportunity to analyse the mobile networks’ situation in most countries where the coronavirus is spreading fast and where the governments have taken necessary steps to slow down the virus transmission among people. The chart below shows the download speed (in Mb/s) for the United States, Germany, Poland, Italy, Ukraine and Russia over the past two months:

The calculations were made in FIREPROBE.NET platform basing on 877,000 test results for 3G and LTE. The chart shows four-day trend.
The calculations were made in FIREPROBE.NET platform basing on 877,000 test results for 3G and LTE. The chart shows four-day trend.
Download speed for mobile operators in Poland and Italy from March 4th to March 15th. The main chart shows a four-day trend, and the internal chart shows a daily trend.
Download speed for mobile operators in Poland and Italy from March 4th to March 15th. The main chart shows a four-day trend, and the internal chart shows a daily trend.

Average download speed analysis in mobile networks shows a strong correlation between the values and the users’ behaviour caused by the fight with the coronavirus pandemic. The effect is clearly visible in the European countries like Italy and Poland where the governments have introduced strong restrictions to force people to stay at homes. Colleges, schools and universities have been closed. Access to shopping centers has been limited - only pharmacies and food stores are open. Poland and Italy have started filtering their country borders and stopped all incoming flights. People have been forced to work in home office mode. A large part of them use mobile routers as the primary home Internet connection. The mobile operators have announced a large increase in data traffic and voice connections.

The mobile network capacity is designed to handle traffic without problems while standard conditions are met. In the last days, however, users may have observed a decrease of mobile network efficiency because the mobile base stations were overloaded by a much higher traffic than the standard one. The average download speed decrease in Italy and Poland was at the level of 10-15% when referring to the mean value from previous periods. This drop of performance is still not critical for most services and applications. On the other hand, some users may feel higher network performance degradation in the day period when a lot of devices are trying to use the Internet.

We have not observed any drops in network performance in case of Germany, the United States, Ukraine and Russia. In the mentioned countries the cost of mobile data traffic is higher, so the users probably more often connect to their fixed networks via Wi-Fi when they are at homes. There are a lot of great mobile pricing offers in Poland that make mobile Internet more attractive than fixed connections.

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