Vodafone data traffic surges 50% due to coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A Vodafone logo is seen on a mobile internet dongle in this photo illustration, November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, said the coronavirus crisis was causing data traffic on its networks to surge, with demand already rising 50% in some markets.

The British company, which announced a plan on Wednesday to maintain network service and provide capacity for critical government functions in Europe, said it expected data use to continue to increase.

Vodafone’s European networks include Italy and Spain, which have been hit hardest by the virus in Europe, as well as Germany, its biggest market, and Britain.

Millions of people in Europe have switched to home working, testing networks and driving up data traffic.

Some European operators reported connectivity problems on Tuesday, but they said in general networks were performing well.

Chief Executive Nick Read said Vodafone could play a critical role in supporting society during the crisis, including working more closely with government.

“Through our networks, and our dedicated team, we will strive to ensure that people stay connected to their family and friends, businesses can continue to run using remote working, our health services get all the support we can deliver and students are able to continue their education virtually,” he said.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton