India’s big three operators are bracing themselves for a jump in data traffic as work-from-home initiatives gain traction across the country.
BofA Global Research has suggested that Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio in particular are set to benefit from a 10 percent jump in data traffic as more offices switch to ‘work from home’ or people go into self-quarantine in their homes to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Both companies run mobile and fixed broadband businesses, albeit fixed broadband penetration in India is about six percent, so most work-from-home traffic – 70 percent or more – is expected to be on cellular networks, according to the BofA report. However, existing broadband customers will most likely be moving to faster speeds and bigger data plans with work and study in mind.
Operators and fixed broadband service providers are offering new plans to provide for the sudden spurt in demand but one thing that is not clear is whether existing infrastructure can cope with a sudden surge in traffic.
However, staff safety may be another problem. The other main player, Vodafone Idea, has said that enough provision has been made to provide resources enabling work from home for the company’s technical teams working across its network monitoring facilities to enable undisrupted services to customers.
The company has said that it has a comprehensive pandemic response plan with requisite risk mitigation protocols for its employees to ensure continuity of mission-critical processes for keeping networks working.
Vodafone Idea has added that it has a suite of work policies that enable flexible working hours, work from home, and working from different locations across the organization.