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EE reports changing habits of mobile users during lockdown

Have you been using your mobile phone more during lockdown? If so, you’re not alone.

A new report from EE highlights how traffic on its network has changed over the past few months, including more voice calls and greater use of apps for communication, fitness and takeaway food.

Since the UK went into lockdown at the end of March, the mobile operator has seen a 45% increase in traffic for apps used primarily to communicate, including WhatsApp, Houseparty, Skype and Teams?.

Voice calls lasting for more than five minutes on average have doubled, with overall voice usage increasing by 45%.

Meanwhile, the number of Zoom users on EE’s network has increased by over five times during lockdown compared to earlier this year, and total data use on the platform has more than doubled.

There has also been a notable shift in the operator’s busiest sites, with usage moving from cities to suburban areas as people stayed at home.

Interestingly, as the UK’s overall movement throughout the day has decreased — and particularly with far fewer people making a daily commute — Fitbit usage on EE’s mobile network on has fallen sharply.

At the same time, however, both user count and data usage for the Strava fitness app has more than tripled compared to pre-lockdown figures, and data usage for MapMyRun has doubled, with the sunny weather and gym closures encouraging people to head outside for a run for their daily exercise.

Working from home habits have also changed when we exercise, with the pre-work morning spike disappearing and more people heading out at lunchtime or after work.

And there have been changes in how we use our mobiles to shop for food over the course of lockdown.

Online supermarket orders increased dramatically in March, as queues and risk of illness deterred people from shopping in person. Since then, our shopping habits have returned to a more ‘normal’ level.

Takeaway orders initially decreased, with a decline in Deliveroo usage, as restaurants closed and hygiene concerns affected purchasing decisions around the start of lockdown. However, in April the UK tired of at-home cooking and Deliveroo orders soared to an all-time high, with data usage spiking higher than pre-lockdown.

Lastly, with the government’s stay-at-home order limiting travel across the country, EE has seen a huge decline in the use of travel apps. Citymapper use has nearly dropped off completely, and far fewer people are booking journeys with ride hailing apps Uber and Kapten.

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