In March, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the speed of the Internet worldwide, but it appears that the trend for growth in traffic in Europe is changing. Over the past three weeks, an increasing number of Member States have reported a stabilization in traffic on fixed and mobile networks at a general level, with Portugal in that group of 21 countries. As for solid strategies with regard to the provision of mobile data, Portugal also stands out in the report of the group of European regulators with information compiled on 21 April.
The data was gathered by the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), which, together with the European Commission, has released reports on Internet traffic during the pandemic. Since March 25, both organizations have been monitoring the evolution of the use of networks, having published nine reports so far, after the announcement of the joint mechanism on March 19. The next document will be published this Wednesday.
With the widening of the pandemic situation and the confinement of European citizens, a negative effect on communication networks was feared, and the European commissioner even asked for some services to reduce the quality of streaming, namely Netflix and YouTube, which acceded to that request.
In Portugal, with the declaration of the State of Emergency, rules were also defined that could be applied to networks and that provided for the possibility of limiting the speed of some traffic, especially video, but so far, Anacom's information shows that there has been no disturbance of infrastructure.
In Europe, in general, traffic from mobile and fixed networks increased during this public health crisis, but no serious congestion has been reported, guarantees BEREC.
The truth is that this growth trend is now reversing, with more and more Member States reporting a stabilization of traffic. In addition to Portugal, countries like Spain, Italy and France are also returning to pre-pandemic levels, with two Member States guaranteeing the same update in the last update: Greece and Finland.
Portugal stands out in the wave of service offers to "entertain" the Portuguese at home
According to European data, Portugal stands out with regard to measures of additional data and free services. Of the five examples given in the strategy report, Portugal took three of them, namely that relating to the increase in the amount of mobile data available in free subscriptions.
In addition, Portugal is one of three Member States that is providing free mobile packages, including data and minutes, to teams at the forefront of the public health sector or other institutions. Only Lithuania and Malta did the same.
Like 15 other countries, operators in Portugal also made some television content available free of charge.
It should also be remembered that right at the beginning of the confinement, the three mobile operators came together to provide the offer of 10 GB of mobile data to their customers.