telcos disagree on what to prioritize in quarantine

Sure, Personal and Movistar agree on benefits but not others. The antecedent of the increase in traffic in Europe and the request for network availability

Telecommunications companies designed special benefit plans for their clients for these days of preventive and compulsory social isolation. But not all stand in the same way when faced with benefits. They coincide in giving free roaming to Argentines who are still abroad and are delayed in returning and in not collecting data to enter the government’s educational platforms, but while Personal and Movistar provide free gigs, Claro stood out differently and considered that This gratuitousness is not a way to promote the responsible use of networks.

The operators of the sector are struggling with several challenges simultaneously these days. On the one hand, they were receptive to the Government’s request to maintain connectivity at the highest level. And it didn’t take more than 48 hours for Personal and Movistar to publicize the benefits for their clients.

They also managed to agree security protocols for technicians who work in the maintenance of networks and on the street., after an unfortunate case of a home service occurred where its owner, a shoddy joker, said he had coronavirus. That implied that 70 co-workers of that technician had to isolate themselves until it was verified that it had been a “joke”, a joke that delayed certain customer service.

And while the operators began to ask for a responsible use of the internet, they also launched initiatives to favor customers, namely:

– All three offer roaming and free service to Argentines stranded abroad until March 31, both in calls and SMS.

– The three will not collect data for admission to government educational platforms such as Seguimoseducando, from Educ.ar until the same date. Movistar also opened Aula365 and Educatina for free.

– For postpaid customers, movistar will give them 5 free gigabytes to activate when necessary from the Mi Movistar app once and to use for 24 hours. This goes up to 5G for CUIT customers during the month. Personal will give an additional 1 GB per month to keep them connected via mobile, and the free WhatsApp promo continues.

– Customers who have not yet done so will be able to activate 10 gigs per month for the next three months from Test Drive of the Mi Movistar app. When they run out of gigs of their plan they will be able to access packs with gift gigs at a lower price.

The benefits also reach prepaid customers. In the case of Personal, customers who need it will be able to access a $ 100 credit when they run out of it, while Movistar will increase the recharge loan with amounts from $ 50 to $ 150.

And when it comes to entertainment, both Movistar and Personal opened their content, always temporarily.

– Movistar will allow subscribers (invoice) and the home service to access 47 Movistar Play signals for free, such as Nick Jr, Discovery, Sony, History and TNT, among others, in addition to the fact that Movistar TV customers will have free the Fox premium pack, measure also implemented by Personal.

– Personal, meanwhile, will subscribe until the end of the month to Personal Games, a service that has a catalog of more than 600 mobile games. In addition to enabling Flow App for all Cablevisión customers.

Come try me

As noted, there is a strategy aimed at consuming services when simultaneously the same companies account for increasing traffic on the networks, fixed and mobile, and although so far it seems that there is nothing to worry about, nobody for sure can anticipate how consumption will continue to behave forward.

It is the reason why, from Claro, they indicated that they will not promote actions aimed at promoting greater consumption of data from entertainment. “Our position is that it is a priority to maintain the operation of the mobile network in the health emergency,” he told iProfessional, Alejandro Quiroga, director of Public Affairs and Regulation of Claro Argentina.

For the manager, “it is a mistake to carry out actions to promote consumption” in this context because, in his vision “it was already seen in those countries where the availability of gigabytes increased, which within a few days was difficult to handle traffic. Networks are designed to receive a certain type of traffic at certain times and if that is destined to watch movies and everyone does it with a mobile phone, congestion may occur, “he added.

This same week, Staff reported an increase in traffic on your networks, where the mobile phone experienced a growth of 7% higher than the fixed one. An increase in traffic was also observed in the fixed infrastructure, but at the same levels as in February, the holiday season and where the consumption of streaming video and online games takes a large part, according to data from the Argentine Chamber of Commerce. Internet (CABASE).

Claro and Movistar are also experiencing growth in consumption, both mobile and fixed, although more in the latter case, around 20%, according to the consultation they made. iProfessional with companies. And everything within schedule, they agreed.

It is clear that the fact that there is a country complying with a preventive and compulsory social isolation drives a greater consumption of the internet and the services that are mounted on it, whether for work or entertainment. But it is also true that the maintenance that networks require these days implies that there is responsible consumption. And in one way or another, the main companies also put this issue on their agenda.

European background

The increase in data traffic due to the isolation effect that humanity is forced to carry out to prevent the spread of Covid19 is the subject of analysis in different countries. In fact, this last week Vodafone reported a 50% increase in data due to this situation in some European markets. The British operator operates in Italy and Spain, in addition to Germany.

To such an extent was that rise that last Wednesday announced a plan to maintain the service and provide capacity to the critical functions of the government in Europe, in addition to warning that he expected that data consumption would continue to rise.

In Spain, data consumption grew 40% on home routers since measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus were tightened, and 50% on mobile networks. And although the different operators of the old continent assured that the infrastructures will respond to the greater demand, they also called responsibility.

In fact, and also as a sample of the behavioral changes that it also causes among competitors, the five companies that have their own network in Spain –Movistar, Orange, Masmóvil, Vodafone and Euskaltel- issued an unpublished joint statement in which they pointed out that ” traffic through IP networks has experienced increases of close to 40%, while mobile use has increased by around 50% in voice and 25% in data. “

They also revealed that “the traffic of instant messaging tools like WhatsApp has increased fivefold in recent days. The increased use of telework has also been reflected in the network: traffic from remote work tools such as Skype and Webex it has multiplied by four, “they detailed.

Although they ensured the availability of critical networks and equipment by constantly monitoring and strengthening the infrastructure, they also called for “prioritizing internet access for teleworking or tele-study and shifting the use of video streaming or gaming to hours of less traffic “in order to help” maintain the quality of service in this new stage of isolation at the national level “.

They also requested the use of the landline instead of the mobile phone to make calls when possible.

A day later, Brussels asked Netflix, YouTube and other streaming platforms to distribute their content in standard format and not in high definition with the same objective of having the networks available to respond to emergencies.

At the local level, the National Communications Authority (ENACOM) asked the same from streaming platforms, although there is still no known response.

“The limitation of movement is a challenge. The initiation of preventive and compulsory social isolation implies making critical interventions in the networks because they have to continue to function. It is necessary to emphasize responsible data consumption because consumption habits cannot be, in this context , those in a normal situation. You have to put an order of priorities, “Quiroga López concluded.

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