- Video conferencing apps see double- and triple-digit growth
- dtac’s network upgrade of Massive MIMO has been intensified both short- and long-term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
March 20, 2020 – dtac is optimizing its network capacity following traffic spikes due to an increasingly homebound workforce shielding itself from the coronavirus outbreak and using video conferencing apps to remain productive. In response, the company has established network contingency plans, focused on expanding Massive MIMO technology to triple network capacity, ensuring customers can stay connected and productive.
Prathet Tankuranun, Chief Technology Officer at Total Access Communication Plc or dtac, said: “As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies in Thailand, dtac is monitoring and analyzing mobile usage in preparation for our contingency plan, vowing to keep customers connected through our network during this unprecedented time. The network service team is keeping a close eye on the impact of the outbreak in order to adapt the network accordingly.”
dtac has found a significant rise in mobile applications focused on voice calls over the video conferencing, internet (VoIP), and home delivery. The top five (with a tie for fifth spot) are:
- Zoom user growth 828%
- Skype user growth 215%
- Google Hangouts Meet user growth 67%
- Grab user growth 36%
- Facebook Messenger and LINE Call (VoIP) user growth 17%
(data during January 1-March 19)
By provinces, Bangkok has had the highest growth of internet use, followed by Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Songkhla and Chonburi respectively.
“We’ve found that the coronavirus crisis was causing data traffic on our network to surge with traffic spikes nationwide this quarter, compared with the previous quarter. Working from home appears to be on the rise as the pattern of data traffic has shifted from densely populated locations like business districts, event venues and holiday destinations to less populated areas, such as residential districts and gated communities. Although we remain unclear when the crisis will come to an end, we will strive to ensure that people stay connected wherever they are,” said Mr. Prathet.
dtac has outlined three responses to the crisis with short- and long-term support for traffic demands that are rising in new areas.
1. Network capacity boost
In the short term, the engineering team will keep monitoring internet usage by location to pinpoint the most critical growth areas. Capacity in such areas can be rapidly tripled by adding network stations and Massive MIMO technology.
2.Network stations and equipment densification
In the mid-term, dtac’s engineers will evaluate congested sites to plan for additional sites on low- and mid-band, and make the necessary network equipment installations.
3.Dedicated team working 24/7
To ensure uninterrupted services, dtac’s engineers are divided into two groups to provide a fallback. If team A is found to have a COVID-19 infection, it will go into self-quarantine while team B takes over network operations. An alternative site has also been found for the Network Operation Centre were the dtac headquarters to be compromised, and engineers are ready to sleep on site if needed.
Click here to view a special feature on life under quarantine and how dtac responds to make digital life easier.