CEO update: How COVID-19 is impacting telecommunications

How COVID-19 is impacting telecommunications in China, South Korea, Italy and Japan.
On Thursday 12 March 2020 by Kevin Buckley


How COVID-19 is impacting telecommunications in China, South Korea, Italy and Japan


Spearline has been closely monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global telecommunications infrastructure. 

Countries that have been affected by this coronavirus have now begun to significantly restrict the movement of individuals, imposing travel freezes and implementing work-from-home arrangements. This has led to a high increase in demand for both video and audio calls and has caused a resultant strain on telecommunications networks across afflicted regions and countries.


Spearline’s platform has been able to highlight these changes through its aggregated information and data points in order to better understand the demands on networks in these unprecedented times. After investigating the countries most affected as per the figures supplied by Johns Hopkins University, there has been little evidence of an impact on telecoms infrastructure in countries such as the USA, Spain and the UK. However, in other countries the impact that the virus has had on the infrastructure is unquestionable.


Italy has been affected by falling connectivity rates since February 23rd, with particular problems arising on February 27th and March 10th when largescale carrier outages were experienced. In many cases, carriers were forced to re-route traffic as they were unable to send engineers to the problematic locations. Italy is also experiencing a spike in connection and congestion issues each day between 09:00 - 11:00. Despite the connectivity issues, no significant deterioration of audio quality has occurred.





Spearline’s customers have reported more than double the usual rate of traffic in Japan. This has led to connectivity problems as a result of intermittent capacity issues.





In China, call quality declined by 21% between January 4th and February 8th. After four weeks, call quality has began to stabilize, but has not returned to its peak performance levels. 





South Korea experienced volatile connectivity issues beginning on January 27th, with a dramatic fall of 5% during its worst period. Likewise, audio quality as measured by PESQ saw reductions of 23% during these times. However, both of these issues have largely recovered now.





With the Covid-19 virus becoming more widespread each day and further restrictions on movement being imposed, it is likely that there will continue to be a significant effect on global telecommunications. Spearline will continue to closely monitor this situation as it unfolds.

Further information

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