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Vodafone NZ reveals internet usage trends in alert level 3

01 May 2020

Vodafone NZ has today revealed key data usage trends as New Zealand ends its first week back in COVID-19 alert level 3 – with some of its services seeing drops in usage since exiting level 4, while others see spikes.

The internet service provider (ISP) recorded a 23% increase in mobile data usage when compared to pre-lockdown levels, and a slight increase from alert level 4. Vodafone ascribes this to the fact that more mobile devices are being used outside of the home as restrictions are eased.

The company says it continues to see huge demand from customers with queries as confusion and uncertainty about level 3 restrictions circulated. 

Vodafone’s pivot to digital service channels has helped in this regard, it says – with customer support staff working remotely along with redeployed retail store staff.

In its report, the company underscores the fact that more than 90% of its broadband customers are on fixed price unlimited plans – which, coupled with vast drops in roaming revenue, means Vodafone is juggling increased data and service pressures while facing the harsh realities of reduced revenues.

Key trends at the start of level 3:
  • Voice calls +60% - unchanged
  • SMS usage has jumped up to being -12% lower than pre-lockdown – up from being down -25% during level 4
  • Mobile data usage +23% - up from +20% under level 4
  • Fixed data usage +18% - down from +20% under level 4
  • Rural broadband (RBI) +25% (on-peak) and +40% (off-peak) - unchanged
  • International roaming -99% - unchanged.

The ISP has also noted an increased uptake in wireless broadband (also referred to as Fixed Wireless Access) – meaning broadband connections delivered via a mobile device.

It has reported an almost +50% increase in data used via these wireless broadband connections, including RBI, when comparing data use in April vs February.

The necessity of an internet connection at home remains vital even at alert level 3, as evidenced by Vodafone’s report of spikes in inquiries from people needing broadband connections.

Vodafone NZ’s report comes as the company today announced its intention to delay charging a premium for its 5G service through to July next year.

The move provides Vodafone NZ users a ‘free year’ of 5G.

"The pandemic has proven connectivity is more important than ever, and we want our customers to have access to the best network technology available," says Vodafone NZ consumer director Carolyn Luey.

“To thank early adopters and existing customers for their loyalty, at a time when the discretionary spend of many New Zealanders is impacted, we have decided to delay the $10 monthly add-on charge for 5G for one year," she says. 

"We also believe there will be a greater number of 5G-connected devices and handsets available by then."