Verizon: COVID-19 network anomalies return to normal springtime levels

While texting and calls are returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, VPN and gaming are still showing large increases over the same time frame, according to Verizon. (Pixabay)

For now, Verizon is reporting that most of the network anomalies related to COVID-19 are now in the rear view mirror.

In Thursday's Verizon Network Report, the telco said that call and texting volumes had returned to pre-COVID-19 springtime levels. Over 776 million calls were made and 5.7 billion text messages were sent as of Monday, which Verizon said showed a "significant decline from peak pandemic volumes."

“As we see the shifts in network volume and usage, our engineers continue to make real-time adjustments to ensure our network is ready when and where people need it,” said Verizon Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady, in a prepared statement. “Though the nation will be managing the impact of COVID-19 far into the future, we feel as if the biggest changes in how, when and where people use the networks are behind us. We will continue to be vigilant in monitoring the networks 24x7 for changes to continue to provide a great customer experience.”

While calls and texts are returning to normal levels, Thursday's report said that gaming was up 82% over pre-coronavirus levels while VPN connections were up 72% over the same time frame. The use of collaboration tools stayed flat in the latest report, but was still 10 times pre-COVID-19 levels.

All of which indicated that while shelter-in-place place have started to loosen across cities and states, there's still a large number of employees working from home, as well as gamers accessing Verizon's network.

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Another indication that people are now on the move was the significant spike in mobile hand-offs over the past few weeks. According to Verizon’s hand-off metrics—which are the times when a data session moves from one cell site to another as users walk or drive around—44 states posted increases in mobility over the last two weeks while 36% of the states have surpassed their pre-COVID mobility levels.

“In the spring, we often see an increase in hand-offs as people move around more and volume on our networks increases over what we see in the winter,” said Malady. “So while these numbers are higher than our typical winter pre-COVID numbers, they are very much in line with what we would expect to see this time of year.”