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Digital Tools Power Lockdown 2.0: Vodafone NZ Network Update

By Tony Baird, Wholesale & Infrastructure Director, Vodafone NZ

As we head to the third weekend of the Auckland lockdown 2.0, and the rest of New Zealand in alert level 2, digital tools continue to power remote working, learning and connecting as Aotearoa carries on in a socially distanced world.

Here’s the latest update from Vodafone NZ, showing:

- Phone and internet network usage continues sustained increases

- Satisfaction is strong among fibre and wireless broadband customers

- Video conferencing resurges in lockdown 2.0

- Digital adoption and online support channels continue to grow in popularity

Phone and internet network usage continues sustained increases

We’re pleased to be able to keep Aotearoa connected and our phone and internet highways continue to carry increased volumes of traffic.

The biggest spikes were seen on Monday, such as when mobile data peaked at 35% higher during the Prime Minister’s 3pm announcement on Monday.

Phone calls continue to be higher during the heightened alert levels, and compared to the week before lockdown we’ve seen:

- Fixed voice calling up to 35% higher

- Mobile calling spikes of 17% higher

We’re also seeing data rise - particularly on urban and rural wireless broadband - as so many New Zealanders are working remotely in alert levels 2 and 3. This includes:

- Wireless broadband data spikes of up to 18%

- Fixed broadband data increases of up to 17%

Customer satisfaction strong among fibre and wireless broadband customers

Across wireless and fixed we’re seeing good levels of customer satisfaction - with wireless broadband customers reporting the same NPS scores as people using fibre to connect to the internet. This suggests consumers aren’t necessarily as concerned with how internet is delivered, as they are with its reliability, speed, capacity, convenience and price.

This is great to see, as both technology access types are awesome 21st century internet options to meet the different needs of New Zealanders. Customers tell us fibre is brilliant for high-use households, while fixed wireless broadband is super easy to install and use as a plug & play device.

However, in line with winter trends each year, customers on fixed copper internet lines (ADSL & VDSL) are reporting significantly lower satisfaction levels.

We believe New Zealanders who are still using copper connections should consider upgrading their internet, either to fibre or fixed wireless broadband, particularly as consumers are likely going to rely on digital options even more for remote working, learning and communicating with family & friends as we’ve seen recently during heightened Covid-19 alert levels.

Video conferencing resurges in lockdown 2.0

With all of Auckland still in lockdown, and many businesses around New Zealand taking precautionary measures, video conferencing is back as the meeting option du jour.

Looking at Vodafone staff usage of internal video conferencing, comparing lockdown with the week before, we’ve seen:

- 60% increase in the number of people joining video meetings (total participant numbers)

- 30% increase in the number of video meetings

- 24% increase in meeting minutes

Digital adoption and online support channels continue to grow

The trends of digital acceleration continue to be evident, with more New Zealanders turning to online tools - seemingly both out of necessity but also convenience.

With all Auckland stores closed, our teams are back online. We’ve opened ‘Local Virtual Stores’, in Auckland but also around the country for those who prefer to stay home, and these stores have seen an increase of 12% in call volumes.

At these virtual stores, local team members offer local customers online service enabled by geo-targeted technology - offering a great hybrid of human service backed by digital technologies.

In the first lockdown, we saw a massive spike in the use of online service channels such as Live Chat and our chatbot TOBi, as all of the country shut and everyone stayed home. While we haven’t seen the same highs this time round, New Zealanders are using online options more. Since May, we’ve seen sustained increases in use with live chat up 77% on pre-Covid 19 levels and our TOBi chatbot seeing 149% more interactions.

To respond, our teams continue to look at ways to enhance our digital channels - both from a networks perspective, in terms of phone and internet performance, as well as how customers interact with us when buying products or seeking support.

As a final note, it’s been great to see two separate Vodafone teams recognised in the past week for their work to bring AI and automation tools into our operations, to enhance our customer experience. We’ll continue to explore new technology innovations, and international best practice, to keep our customers connected.

Vodafone - Stay Safe.

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