AT&T, Verizon and Sprint reported spikes in voice calls, as restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak resulted in people turning to more traditional methods of communication.

An AT&T representative told Mobile World Live voice calls on Sunday 22 March increased 44 per cent compared with a regular Sunday, while Wi-Fi calling jumped 88 per cent.

Verizon reported a 10 per cent rise in calls between 12 March and 19 March, with their duration 15 per cent higher. CTO Kyle Malady stated the increase bucked steady declines in mobile voice over the past few years, adding government restrictions forcing people to stay home to slow the spread of Covid-19 appear to have “reignited people’s hunger to stay connected, voice-to-voice”.

In a blog, Sprint noted an increase in voice as part of a broader jump in network use: without specifying a period, it reported a 20 per cent lift in calls and a 25 per cent rise in messaging.

It added it is prepared to add more capacity to support the hike in demand “if and when needed”.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US all recently received temporary infusions of spectrum to help them boost network capacity during the pandemic.