Home >Industry >Telecom >Mobile network traffic flattening after initial surge fuelled by lockdowns, no need for added spectrum
Streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Hotstar had recently announced that they would be reducing default streaming qualities (Pradeep Gaur/ Mint)
Streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Hotstar had recently announced that they would be reducing default streaming qualities (Pradeep Gaur/ Mint)

Mobile network traffic flattening after initial surge fuelled by lockdowns, no need for added spectrum

  • The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said telcos do not need additional spectrum
  • The lockdown to stem the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country had led people to work from home

Traffic demand on mobile networks in India has started flattening after an initial surge in demand due to covid-related lockdowns across the country. In a retraction of its earlier statement, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said telcos do not need additional spectrum from the Department of Telecom (DoT) in order to cope with traffic demands.

“Over the past few days, the industry, in concert with actions coordinated with the DoT, has seen a flattening of traffic demand on member’s networks," said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI. Mathews said that streaming services reducing content quality from HD to SD has helped in flattening the demand, while “local municipalities" have also worked with operators to “bring back sealed towers back online." There has also been “some redistribution of traffic on the network," Mathews noted.

“As a result, Operators believe there is no present need to request for any additional spectrum. Based on the present condition of Member networks, we believe there is no such present need and Operators remain confident the steps they have taken presently can maintain the relatability and quality of their networks and services," he added.

In a letter written to the government earlier, the COAI had urged the government to provide additional spectrum in the 1800 MHz band to be allocated to telcos in the short term to meet growing traffic needs.

The mandatory lockdown enforced by central and state governments to stem the outbreak of covid-19 in the country had led people to work from home. This in turn led to a rise in the amount of video conferences happening in corporates, while users staying home also started to stream more content online.

The surge in traffic wasn’t seen by telcos alone. Prasanna Gokhale, CTO of ACT Fibernet had earlier told Mint that the broadband service provider had seen a 40% increase in traffic due to the lockdowns. Vivek Raina, CEO of Excitel Broadband told Mint that the company saw a 25% increase in network load.

Streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Hotstar had recently announced that they would be reducing default streaming qualities on mobile networks from HD to SD, which seems to have significantly reduced the stress on networks as well.

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