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Video conferencing, network usage surge in lockdown 2.0 - Vodafone

Phone and internet network usage continued sustained increases during Auckland's second lockdown, according to Vodafone NZ. 

Tony Baird, wholesale & infrastructure director at Vodafone NZ, says while Auckland was in alert level 3 and the rest of the country at alert level 2, digital tools continued to power remote working, learning and connecting.

Baird said satisfaction was strong among fibre and wireless broadband customers, and digital adoption and online support channels continued to grow in popularity. Video conferencing also resurged in lockdown 2.0.

"We’re pleased to be able to keep Aotearoa connected and our phone and internet highways continue to carry increased volumes of traffic," says Baird.

 "The biggest spikes were seen on Monday, such as when mobile data peaked at 35% higher during the Prime Minister’s 3pm announcement on Monday."

 Phone calls continued to be higher during the heightened alert levels, and compared to the week before lockdown, fixed voice calling was up to 35% higher, while mobile calling saw spikes of 17% higher.

 "We’re also seeing data rise - particularly on urban and rural wireless broadband - as so many New Zealanders are working remotely in alert levels 2 and 3," Baird says.

Wireless broadband data saw spikes of up to 18%, while fixed broadband data saw increases of up to 17%.

Baird said customer satisfaction was strong among fibre and wireless broadband customers.

"Across wireless and fixed we’re seeing good levels of customer satisfaction - with wireless broadband customers reporting the same NPS scores as people using fibre to connect to the internet," he says.

"This suggests consumers aren’t necessarily as concerned with how internet is delivered, as they are with its reliability, speed, capacity, convenience and price.

"This is great to see, as both technology access types are awesome 21st century internet options to meet the different needs of New Zealanders. 

"Customers tell us fibre is brilliant for high-use households, while fixed wireless broadband is super easy to install and use as a plug & play device."

However, in line with winter trends each year, customers on fixed copper internet lines (ADSL & VDSL) are reporting significantly lower satisfaction levels.

"We believe New Zealanders who are still using copper connections should consider upgrading their internet, either to fibre or fixed wireless broadband, particularly as consumers are likely going to rely on digital options even more for remote working, learning and communicating with family & friends as we’ve seen recently during heightened Covid-19 alert levels," Baird explains.

While all of Auckland was still in lockdown, and many businesses around New Zealand were taking precautionary measures, video conferencing was back as the meeting option du jour, Baird said.

Looking at Vodafone staff usage of internal video conferencing, comparing lockdown with the week before, Vodafone saw: 

-          60% increase in the number of people joining video meetings (total participant numbers)

-          30% increase in the number of video meetings

-          24% increase in meeting minutes


"The trends of digital acceleration continue to be evident, with more New Zealanders turning to online tools - seemingly both out of necessity but also convenience," Baird says.

" With all Auckland stores closed, our teams are back online. We’ve opened ‘Local Virtual Stores’, in Auckland but also around the country for those who prefer to stay home, and these stores have seen an increase of 12% in call volumes.

 "At these virtual stores, local team members offer local customers online service enabled by geo-targeted technology - offering a great hybrid of human service backed by digital technologies," he says.

"In the first lockdown, we saw a massive spike in the use of online service channels such as Live Chat and our chatbot TOBi, as all of the country shut and everyone stayed home. 

"While we haven’t seen the same highs this time round, New Zealanders are using online options more. Since May, we’ve seen sustained increases in use with live chat up 77% on pre-Covid 19 levels and our TOBi chatbot seeing 149% more interactions."