FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

No surprise: Vodafone calls and data usage up as week three of lockdown sets in

By Shannon Williams
Thu 9 Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Calls and data usage on the Vodafone network remain high, according to Vodafone NZ who has released its latest network report in week 3 of lockdown. 

As well as high call and data usage, daytime online entertainment is proving popular, while network investment ramps up, the telecommunication provider says.

"We've had another busy week at Vodafone, ensuring online and phone traffic flows smoothly for our customers as well as undertaking essential maintenance and investing in network upgrades to keep New Zealanders connected during COVID-19 level 4 lockdown and beyond," says Tony Baird, wholesale & infrastructure director, Vodafone NZ.

 "COVID-19 has caused significant business impacts in every sector of the economy, including ours. It's important we play our part in New Zealand's fight against COVID-19 as much as we can and help customers stay connected in this time of need," he says.

"To that end, our teams are working overtime with lots of late nights on our networks, we're buying new software and adding extra technology into the mix to avoid online traffic jams. We're proud of the way in which we have been able to respond for our customers so far," says Baird.

"This has meant some cost-pressures from increased demands on our network, which were delivering at no extra charge for the vast majority of our customers who are on fixed price unlimited plans."

 The telco's latest analysis shows some new interesting trends in the ways COVID-19 is changing internet traffic and user behaviour.

Aucklanders and Cantabrians love to chat and Auckland data use jumps more than other regions, it shows.

"We're consistently seeing time on voice calls sit at 60% higher than pre-lockdown levels, on average. But there are some interesting nuances," Baird says.

"On weekdays, as work takes hold and conference calls replace in-person meetings, Aucklanders are spending the longest, or around 44% more minutes on phone calls while those in Christchurch spend 34% more time on the phone. As the least chatty, Kaikoura district locals are spending -7% fewer minutes on phone calls during the week," he explains.

"But this flips on weekends, when Christchurch locals take the turn as the chattiest region spending a whopping 87% more minutes on phone calls vs Aucklanders who spend 77% more minutes chatting on Sundays compared to pre-lockdown levels. However, Kaikoura locals made up for shorter calls during the week, with 71% more minutes spent talking on the phone on the weekend."

The report shows SMS messages are down -25%, as New Zealanders instead turn to online messaging and voice calls on apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.

 Online data continues to be 20% higher across the country, with spikes of up to 30%. Auckland is skewing a little higher on data use (+22%), vs Christchurch (+19%) and Wellington (+17%).

According to the report, daytime entertainment has become increasingly popular.

"We're seeing daytime online entertainment increase as Kiwis look to fill their time at home with video streaming," says Baird.

"YouTube and Netflix viewing is around 20% higher than usual peaks. During lockdown, YouTube usage ramps up at about 9am and stays high throughout the whole day, whereas pre-COVID-19 you would see this increase from around 5pm," he explains.

"Similarly, now we're seeing Netflix usage start to ramp up at 11am, compared to previous times where it would ramp up from around 3pm onwards."

Meanwhile, Vodafone has added additional capacity to 265 x 4G cell sites.

"We're investing in numerous urgent projects to add capacity, which this week included 265 of our 4G cell sites around the country," says Baird.

"Thanks to Nokia for providing the necessary software to complete this upgrade, and Dense Air for offering us their 2.6GHz radio spectrum for three months to boost internet capacity with a number of Rural Broadband Initiative 1 (RBI1) customers benefitting, as well as those in urban areas.

"Since we started offering rural broadband customers unlimited free data overnight, we have seen up to 40% more data consumed between midnight and 9am. This additional spectrum will help, but theres no silver bullet for rural users and building additional cell sites via the Rural Connectivity Group will make the most difference in the longer-term," he explains.

"We're working with various government agencies on ways to further increase internet capacity."

"We're working on upgrading cell sites from 3G to 4G where we can in, in another effort to boost capacity with Levin and Porirua being two areas benefitting," Baird continues.

"We have deployed cell sites on wheels (COWs) to boost areas of congestion in essential services including a hospital in Kawakawa, north of Whangarei.

"Another project we needed to complete before the winter rain sets in was to upgrade a key section of fibre cabling near Kaikoura.

 "All of these efforts require a lot of time and effort from our hardworking engineers and partners, but we're committed to investing to keep our customers connected during this time when internet and phone connections are even more important," he says.

"Staying in touch with friends and family, and keeping life as normal as possible during lockdown is incredibly important. Our Vodafone team created a cool great this week showing all the ways that they are using technology to work, life and play online and connect to missing family and friends," Baird adds.

"Our technology enables remote connectivity like never before and CV19 has shown everyone that video calls can often be just as good as face-to-face meetings. A side benefit is the environment is thanking us too, with reports showing emissions are going down, which is something we could consider longer-term.

"We'll keep managing the operational and financial impacts that such large increases in data and phone use are placing on our networks, and balance the reduced revenue impacts as we help New Zealander in a time of need."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Sony
Sony launches LinkBuds S - the latest model in the series
Sony says the LinkBuds S will give users a unique sound experience through sensor and spatial sound technology, even in AR games.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: WD_Black SN770 NVMe SSD Game Drive
Western Digital expands its WD_Black range of NVMe solid-state drives with the WD_Black SN770 Game Drive.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
E-waste
NZ’s first and only e-waste sorting machine launched
Computer Recycling launches e-waste shredder and MSS optical sorting machine BLUBOX, which is able to sort out a tonne of e-waste per hour
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook A/NZ announces new Portégé X40L-K hyperlight laptop
Dynabook A/NZ has unveiled the all-new Portégé X40L-K, a hyperlight 14.0" modern laptop utilising cutting-edge, high-performance computing power.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
NFT
Emirates to launch NFTs and experiences in the metaverse
"Emirates has embraced advanced technologies to improve business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees' skills and experiences."
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: MLB The Show 22 (PS5)
Historically the MLB The Show series has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles, but now the franchise is expanding.
Story image
Mobility
Tyson Beckford partners with Element Case on new AppleWatch band
Celebrity Tyson Beckford has collaborated with STM Brands' Element Case brand to create a rugged new accessory.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
First Table
First Table set to revive restaurant commerce in NZ with platform launch
A new restaurant booking platform has launched in New Zealand, giving Kiwi diners the opportunity to save and book at a variety of restaurants around the country.
Story image
Music
Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Tell-tale hints before volcanic eruptions found using AI
Researchers have pinpointed precursors to volcanic eruptions, in data collected before explosions including the deadly 2019 Whakaari surge that killed 22 people.
Story image
Sustainability
Can bots succeed where humans have failed in sustainability?
People want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.  
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Online shopping
A/NZ shoppers plan to spend less, be more selective
For retailers, 2022 is set to be a year of introspection as shoppers across Australia and New Zealand indicate they plan to spend less.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Malware
Vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops expose users to UEFI malware
Researchers at ESET have discovered three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.