Verizon and AT&T are reporting that the number of phone calls it is handling daily has increased pretty dramatically. More dramatically than internet usage. Which is what wireless carriers were preparing for, when this pandemic started.
As more and more people are stuck at home, for the foreseeable future, people are making more phone calls. To check in with friends and family. Since they can't go and actually see them now.
Verizon is handling 800 million wireless phone calls per week
Verizon has stated that it is handling more than 800 million wireless phone calls per week, on average. That is more than double the number made on Mother's Day. That is typically the busiest call days of the year, as everyone is calling their Mom to tell them Happy Mother's Day.
On top of that, the length of these voice calls is up 33% compared to an average day before the pandemic started.
For AT&T, the number of cellular calls is up over 35%. On top of that, WiFi-based calls has nearly doubled from the averages before the pandemic.
Internet traffic has also seen an increase, but not as big of an increase compared to phone calls. AT&T and Verizon both started that they are seeing numbers between 20 and 25%, compared to typical daily patterns.
The phone call has made a comeback
For years, the phone call has been being phased out. In fact, since 2000, more than 90 million households have gotten rid of their landlines. And most people don't make phone calls with their smartphones.
But thanks to the pandemic, which is forcing everyone to stay home, and not to gather in large groups. More people are making phone calls, either to pass the time, or check up on their friends and family during this time.
Wireless carriers were preparing for a surge in internet usage, but it did not expect to see a big surge in voice calls. Remember that voice networks are pretty old, and most carriers don't invest in them anymore. Instead, they are investing in VoLTE or VoIP technology, so you can make calls over the internet. Which isn't completely rolled out everywhere in the US right now.
This trend likely won't stop after everything is back to normal. It's likely that most people won't want to gather in groups for some time after this is over. Which means that people will be making more phone calls than they were before.