AT&T tallies impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past six months

AT&T provided a snapshot into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in a blog on Wednesday, which included a nearly 20% jump in traffic on its network over the past six months.

Currently, the AT&T Global Network carries more than 391.8 petabytes of data traffic on an average day versus 335.1 petabytes at the end of last year. A blog post by AT&T's Scott Mair, president for network engineering and operations, and Anne Chow, the CEO of AT&T Business, said AT&T has spent more than $135 billion over the past five years to build its network with self-healing architectures and open standards.

Other Covid-related stats included a nearly 40% increase in wireless voice usage as people started to work from home and use their mobile devices to attend meetings and connect with colleagues.

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AT&T also broke its record for text messages twice during the pandemic. During the March spring break timeframe and on Easter weekend, customers sent more than 23,000 texts per second across the AT&T network. The previous peak (pre-pandemic) was 15,000 texts per second.

Mobile data volume slightly decreased over the past six months of Covid-19 because more people were connecting to their home Wi-FI throughout the day, according to the blog.

AT&T's 1.5 million FirstNet customers consumed more than twice as much data as the telco's individual consumer customers. To date, agencies across the nation have made more than 450 requests for deployable network assets to support planned and emergency events, which included drive-through Covid-19 testing sites, hurricanes and the Pacific Northwest wildfires.

"This only begins to scratch the surface at how we are adapting and innovating to keep the millions of people, communities, organizations and companies around the world connected," Mair and Chow said in the blog. "We have several artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities within our network that helped us manage data during this crisis and provide reliable connectivity to customers.

"Our goal now is to connect every American, as the pandemic has made clear we must close the digital divide. We can’t do it alone. But as we continue in our 'next normal,' perhaps together we can – finally – create connections for all."