International Voice Calls and SMS Traffic Decline in 2Q20 as Video Calls Pick-Up

International mobile voice calls and SMS have all registered a decline as users and businesses turned to internet-based applications to communicate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report by the Communications Authority of Kenya indicate that between April and June, international incoming mobile voice minutes declined 4.1 percent to record 132.2 million minutes compared to 137.8 million minutes recorded in the quarter between January and March.

Partial lockdown and movement restrictions that followed after the outbreak in March this year prompted companies and individuals to seek alternative ways of conducting meetings to ensure business continuity in the middle of the health crisis.

International travel restrictions also meant many meetings and conferences had to be rescheduled or conducted virtually leading to popularity of virtual conferencing apps.

“During the April-June 2020 period, there was a general decline in international incoming and outgoing voice and SMS traffic. This is attributed to the increased uptake of Internet-based calls, which also provide video services.” CA stated.

While Zoom has become the most popular videotelephony app with at least 300 million daily users, others such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Bluejeans, WhatsApp have emerged as strong competitors.

During the period under review, international outgoing mobile voice minutes shrunk 0.6 percent.

Kenyans made outgoing international calls amounting to 117.4 million minutes in the fourth quarter compared to 118.1 million minutes in the previous quarter.

International incoming SMS also reduced 5.5 percent to 9.3 million text messages compared to 9.8 million text messages sent during the previous quarter.

On the other hand, international outgoing mobile SMS registered the largest drop at 15.2 percent when Kenyans sent out 8 million text messages between April and June compared to 9.5 million texts sent out between January and April.

According to CA, international incoming fixed voice traffic also fell by 11.8 percent to register 4.3 million minutes from 4.9 million registered in the last quarter.

International outgoing fixed voice traffic similarly declined by 14.8 per cent to record 3.3 million minutes from 3.9 million recorded in the previous quarter.

International outgoing fixed network Voice over Internet Protocol commonly known as VoIP declined by 13.2 per to 459,941 minutes from 530,022 minutes registered last quarter according to the authority.

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