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Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 in Spain

Published on April 5, 2020

Residential fixed broadband networks in Europe are facing an unprecedented situation. Operators are making great efforts to maintain adequate internet service quality and a good user experience during its use.



MedUX is closely monitoring the impact that the coronavirus, along with recent confinement measures and teleworking, is having on User Experience Quality and network and service performance. Above all, "we are satisfied and grateful for the behavior of Spanish networks and the tireless work carried out by the entire industry during this crisis. Although the risk of network and service congestion is still high, we know that operators continue to work to ensure there is enough capacity deployed and that users are affected as little as possible," says Rafael González, CMO of MedUX.

In Spain, like in other countries worldwide, networks are recording record traffic and significant changes in usage patterns since mobility restriction measures have forced people to stay at home. We are facing a change in our paradigms as a society and the largest teleworking experiment in history.

However, our country is one of the best prepared thanks to its extensive fiber optic deployment. Operators are playing a crucial role, taking preventive and corrective measures according to the circumstances to mitigate the effects of increased Internet usage and becoming even more essential tools for society and its development. "Extraordinary situations like the current one demonstrate the critical value of new technologies to improve user satisfaction and advanced analytics for better decision-making. At MedUX, we will continue to research and provide all possible analysis to the industry. We have made ourselves available to all Spanish and European operators, as well as government agencies, to support them and contribute our part to ensure that communications, critical for the functioning of society and the economy, are as good as possible in these challenging times," comments Luis Molina, founder, and CEO of MedUX.

Despite Internet service being stable overall and networks responding remarkably well, the performance of services in Spanish households has been affected due to the significant increase in traffic. Taking public traffic references, there has been a 25% increase compared to early March values according to DE-CIX figures (see historical highs of March 27). According to data provided by Spanish operators, IP traffic increases are around 40%, as stated by Vodafone and Telefónica. Orange's data shows an increase of 30% and the MásMóvil Group reported an 80% increase.

MedUX statistics show service degradations in basic parameters such as compliance with contracted speed, latency, or packet loss, as well as indicators related to services and applications used by users.

These are some of the most relevant data extracted from the analysis of the impact carried out by MedUX on the network performance and User Experience Quality of Spanish users: 

  1. Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, the Canary Islands, the Basque Country, and Andalusia are some of the regions where the worsening of user experience has been higher, although most Spanish regions are slightly affected.
  2. All operators have been affected by degradations in web browsing, cloud storage, streaming, and gaming, especially the latter due to the worsening of key indicators such as latency or packet loss.
  3. There has been an average general decrease of slightly over 5% in compliance with the contracted download speed, reaching 10% during the afternoon-evening hours on days of lower performance. Taking as a reference the worsening of the contracted download speed, the impact can be observed in the following image -illustratively- 
  4. There is a significant increase in latency (network "response time") of up to 60% during the afternoon-evening hours on days of lower performance (S11-S12). Additionally, MedUX statistics indicate a significant variation in packet loss with significantly high values during the afternoon, averaging over 0.2% for certain days.

  5.  All operators present a slowdown in web browsing in weeks 11 and 12 during peak hours. The loading time of the main web pages increased by up to 10% and DNS resolution by up to 80%.
  6. Despite the efforts of operators and content providers, there has been a degradation of streaming services, for example, with up to a 10% worsening in the start and loading times of YouTube videos, especially during peak hours.
  7. During the days and hours of maximum demand, which are the most challenging for the proper functioning of the networks, some operators suffered a deterioration in gaming and streaming services with increases above 50 ms in latency, 0.5% in packet loss, and increases between 20 and 50% in loading and playback times. 

In view of this situation, telecommunications operators are continuously monitoring their infrastructures and traffic to ensure essential services. In this line, major entertainment and video conferencing service providers are adjusting their quality parameters extraordinarily to control the increase in traffic and service usage.

Services like YouTube decided to reduce the default quality of videos with the highest quality in order to reduce the bandwidth usage by up to 25%. However, according to our estimates during the past few weeks, the reduction in average bandwidth usage by these types of applications has only contributed to a reduction in their average speed of between 10 and 15%. The data observed by MedUX for the YouTube service shows two key milestones in the adjustment process. As of March 21, YouTube forced up to 10% of videos to be in 480p resolution, reducing the resolutions of higher quality, 720p and 1080p, to approximately 45% of the total. However, as of March 24, YouTube imposed a maximum resolution for practically all videos of 720p. 

From MedUX, a leading company in Customer Experience Measurement for fixed, mobile, and TV telecommunications networks, we will continue to work hard and deliver innovative solutions to the telecommunications industry and provide real-time information on business and networks.


Please, do not hesitate to request a meeting with one of our experts or contact us at marketing@medux.com  to delve into some more specific conclusions from the analysis in Spain, as well as other details of our analyses and statistics available at the individual operator level.

We have published similar analyses for Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, which usefully serve as a comparison with the situation in Spain. These reports provide information on how the user experience has been affected in these markets by the coronavirus outbreak and the surge in teleworking and digital activities from home. 

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