TeleGeography reveals 7% decline overall in international traffic due to COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns
Research and consulting firm TeleGeography has found that international call traffic declined by 7% in 2020. The downhill trend continues from 2015 after a slight increase in 2020, at the start of the pandemic.
The TeleGeography Report and Database analyzes how COVID-19, the OTT effect and wholesale carriers have contributed to the decline of voice traffic.
Despite a small rise in traffic once restrictions were implemented, the overall 2020 data matched that of previous years. Operators’ traffic fell by 9% in 2017, 4% in 2018, and by a further 6% in 2019.
One area the pandemic may have impacted is the mobile-originated share of international traffic, which dropped for the first time ever from 62.4% in 2019 to 62.0% in 2020.
This new research also examines the expansion of the wholesale market, prompted by the increase of traffic to mobile phones in emerging markets driving up demand for wholesale growth.
It found wholesale carriers terminated more than 70% of international traffic in 2020, which rose to over 85% of traffic to Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. In contrast, wholesale carriers terminated only 54% of traffic to western Europe.
“When the final numbers came in, only one carrier out of 24 reported that traffic levels were higher by the end of the year and global traffic had continued to drop at an even faster rate than in 2019. It’s also possible we could have seen an even bigger drop without the early COVID-effect surge,” said Anahí Rebatta, Senior Analyst at TeleGeography.
The TeleGeography Report and Database analyses international voice traffic data for 61 countries, over 1,000 routes, and the impact of consumer VoIP services, trends in retail and wholesale prices and revenues, plus retail, wholesale, and interconnection rates.
You can download a copy of this report’s executive summary here.