ReutersMar 18, 2020 00:16:10 IST
LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) - Some European telecoms operators reported connectivity problems on Tuesday as millions of people logged on for work at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, driving up data traffic by as much as 30% and testing networks.
British carrier O2, owned by Spain's Telefonica
Governments from Spain to Austria have imposed strict lockdowns to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Germany, Europe's largest economy, has shut schools and restaurants, causing more people to stay at home.
That is leading to increases in data and voice traffic, but also shifts in how people communicate with each other.
Many people, logged on from home, are using their home Wifi networks to make calls to colleagues, friends and relatives. That increases data consumption via fixed-line networks.
At the same time, more calls are being placed over mobile networks rather than data-driven chat services like WhatsApp, as people check in with elderly relatives who are most at risk from coronavirus but less likely to use messaging apps.
'NEW SITUATION, NO TABOO'
"Data use on Monday looked more like it does on a Sunday," said spokesman Alexander Leinhos.
Vodafone Germany, Deutsche Telekom
"At the moment we are seeing an increase in data traffic," said Deutsche Telekom, the German market leader. "Until now, all our platforms are coping well."
Isolated reports of connectivity problems may also be because people are trying out data-hungry new videoconferencing apps, overloading the servers on which they run, said one German telecoms industry source.
French telecoms group Iliad
"Our networks are very busy, of course," said Chief Executive Thomas Reynaud.
He added that the company reserved the right to throttle back the bandwidth allocated to video-streaming services like Netflix
"We're in a new situation, there's no taboo."
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine, Kate Holton, Mathieu Rosemain and Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Pravin Char)
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