Ten years ago, Argentines made plans for Día del Amigo without WhatsApp and documented nights at the boliche without Snapchat. Since then, internet plans have revolutionized cellular communication. This year, for the first time, Argentina’s three main mobile phone companies have data on our data use.
Claro, Movistar, and Personal used to track phone usage by counting SMS messages and voice calls. But data consumption in Argentina is growing more than 150 percent each year, according to Julio Carlos Porras, CEO of Claro Argentina. As a result, each company now registers peak times of mobile internet access.
Music and video account for the majority of data streaming among Claro’s clients. WhatsApp, however, is a close second. On this year’s Día del Amigo, millions of Claro users communicated via WhatsApp upon leaving work. “It’s one of the days annually with the highest traffic,” said Carlos Porras, “particularly around 6pm.” Data use declined after 8pm on July 21, once people had met up to celebrate, according to company analysts.
The technical team at Movistar registered that Facebook normally accounts for half of social network traffic among its users. On the Día del Amigo, it recorded peak WhatsApp consumption between 11pm and 1am, as parties came to an end.
Personal tracked a 198 percent increase in WhatsApp usage and a 60 percent increase in Instagram usage at 10am on the Día. By 11:30pm, data access was on par with that of Movistar. Still, old-school texts and calls are anything but dead, according to Personal analysts, who noted a 16 percent increase throughout the day for SMS use and 5 percent for voice traffic.