It wasn’t just Saturday Night Live or Matilda Cuomo going out of their way to make special note of Mother’s Day in this upside-down 2020. A larger chunk of the U.S. population also made celebrating the holiday a priority, apparently a response to COVID-19.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans are isolated and unable to see their families or mark the holiday by going out to a restaurant.
This year’s edition of the holiday saw a 13% increase in voice calls over a typical Sunday before the pandemic, according to Verizon, as well as a 25% increase in texts over the previous Sunday.
The Verizon Network Report, released Monday, counted 1.75 billion minutes of talk time, up 11% over the previous Sunday, May 3. There were more than 6 billion text messages sent.
The report also found a 2.6% increase over the previous Sunday in video chatting via the telecom giant’s collaboration tools.
“Mother’s Day is historically our highest call volume Sunday of the year, but this year we expected and saw a significant increase in calls,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s Chief Network Officer. “Our engineers were monitoring our networks all day yesterday to ensure those important connections were made reliably.”
Verizon CFO Matt Ellis, during an online appearance Monday at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, said overall usage of Verizon’s network has increased markedly since the onset of the pandemic in March. “We saw a good day yesterday as more people remembered to call Mom,” Ellis said. “We sometimes forget about the phone call.” During the pandemic, land-line calls have doubled previous levels of usage, he added.
Longtime telecom and media analyst Craig Moffett, who interviewed Ellis in an online keynote, recalled that the “entire wireline network” of major telecom companies used to be built to handle the traffic of calls on Mother’s Day. “That was the big day that you planned around.”