Scroll down for an update on telco stores.
Telcos say they've had a very busy evening and morning, but with no problems. Calling and internet volumes didn't hit nearly the level of March 23, when level 4 was announced and congestion made traditional voice calls impossible for hours.
It could be a sign that although we couldn't resist the panic-buying urge, we're now more comfortable around remote technology. And maybe that 9.15pm is a better time for a media briefing in terms of call loading. Not everyone wants to make or receive a call at that hour, it seems, even with such big news.
Spark says voice calling "rose significantly" during Jacinda Ardern's briefing. But instead of going off the charts as on March 23, it was comparable to daytime levels - that is, well within network capacity.
Chorus, which runs the lion's share of fixed broadband networks in NZ, says downstream internet traffic hit a midday peak of 1.49 terabits per second today - a 37 per cent increase on midday yesterday, when the world as we knew was relatively serene.
And yesterday evening, traffic peaked at a relatively modest 2.43Tbps - the busiest in a month but still within normal levels (on March 26, our first full day of level 4 lockdown, peak traffic hit 3.03Tbps as we traded real-life meetings for Zoom. That broke the previous record, set during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and took us as close as we've ever got to Chorus' ceiling of 3.50Tbps, but it trailed off from there, in part thanks to our largest bandwidth hog, Netflix slashing its bitrate by 25 per cent - a measure finally reversed on July 20).
On the retail side, 2degrees told the Herald early afternoon, "Broadband data use had grown by 30 per cent when we compared usage this morning versus yesterday, with traffic on our national mobile network at normal levels. We'll be watching our networks closely to see how usage trends as we move into levels 2 and 3."
Vodafone said this morning it was seeing big increases in voice calling on the mobile side of its operation this morning, with 3G calling up 20 per cent and 4G calling (VoLTE) up 50 per cent.
And text messaging was around a third higher than normal.
But elsewhere on its network, things were more subdued, with only slight increases in landline calls and mobile data.
Retail store status
"As Auckland is currently at alert level 3, Spark stores from Warkworth to Pukekohe will be closed today," a spokeswoman said.
"However, our Warkworth, Albany, New Lynn, Queen St, Botany and Manukau stores will be operating as contactless distribution centres. For urgent hardware needs, Auckland customers can call our customer care team on 123 to arrange an urgent pick-up at one of these stores.
"As per alert level 3 Government regulations, Auckland stores remain closed to the public and pick-ups will be available by appointment only. All payments will be charged to a customer's account to ensure our services to our customers remain contactless.
"For the rest of New Zealand, who are currently at alert level 2, Spark stores are open to the public, but opening hours may vary. However, to keep our people and customers safe, stores are operating with additional safety protocols such as limiting the number of people in store and maintaining social distancing and hygiene requirements in line with the Government's alert level 2 guidelines. This may mean a wait time to enter one of our stores."
Auckland Spark Business Hubs are closed during alert level 3 and our teams are working remotely. Business customers who need support can contact their account manager, call 0800 BUSINESS or book a call online.
Spark Business Hubs across the rest of the country are open during alert level 2, but with additional safety and hygiene protocols such as limiting the number of people in the Hubs, social distancing, contact tracing and the use of hand sanitiser.
"Telcos are an essential service and our Auckland stores have moved to a non-contact model, with restrictions on entering the premises," a spokeswoman said.
"Auckland stores will only allow contactless card transactions and customers will need to bring photo ID with them. This is all in line with what we did last time we were at level 3. Stores in shopping centres will be open according to the shopping centre's opening hours. Customers should check shopping centre websites to confirm these.
"2degrees stores in the rest of the country will remain open as normal but the number of customers allowed in store at one time would be managed to maintain social distancing, and an increased cleaning regime would be in place."
"Vodafone stores from Warkworth to Pukekohe will be open as Essential Connectivity Hubs under alert level 3 guidelines, meaning people need to make an appointment to visit," a spokeswoman said.
"All other stores outside of greater Auckland continue to operate under alert level 2 guidelines. Digital options continue to be the best way to get in touch with Vodafone, either via our website (shop, chatbot or Live Chat), MyVodafone app and Facebook/Twitter – plus via our regular phone lines."