Impact of COVID-19 on Telcos
Telecom operators offering mobile to broadband to data center services have experienced growth in the data and voice traffic due to COVID-19. However, the surge in network usage led to network outage in various parts of the world. To facilitate users with continuous network connectivity during the pandemic, operators are constantly performing network performance tests and reducing their network bandwidth and data caps that can give them immersive experiences with ease in 3G/4G/5G services required for personal and professional purpose.
How is it influencing global organisations?
- Apps like Whatsapp, Zoom, Skype, Teams made the traffic for EE’s network reach on higher side with 45%. Additionally, on an average voice calls that used to last more than five minutes increased by two folds with a spike of 45%.
- WIOCC, a leading African network connectivity supplier experienced a dramatic increase in upstream international IP traffic into SA from 25GBPS to 50GBPS amid pandemic.
- Orange S.A. users collaborated with their peers remotely leading to an increase of 700% users in COVID-world.
How are Telcos sailing through this crisis?
- Connecting patients and physicians virtually – Telehealth is becoming the prime spotlight for healthcare organisations as they are providing care to patients remotely irrespective of distance between them. Such remote monitoring technique is minimizing number of visits restricting from creating chaos in hospitals during pandemic. However, all this is solely dependent on network infrastructure and telecom operators are leaving no stone unturned to support them and promote patient’s well-being. For example, Vodafone has increased its network capacity and services with respect to hospitals and ambulance services in Europe comprising capacity spike for emergency hotline services.
- Managing their staff based on the priority – The idea is to identify critical job roles like customer-facing and network operations that require high attention amid crisis. Continuously providing 3G/4G/5G Internet services to customers without disruption in mobile network speed is crucial and thus needs assessment of network at regular intervals. As mobile network operators follow the social distancing and lockdown norms, such an identification process makes their task a bit synchronised to manage network demands and serve customers in the COVID-world and prepare for the upcoming future.
- Helping people stay connected with home connectivity solutions – The entire COVID situation has changed the way people used to connect with their peers and business stakeholders. Telecom service providers have been developing robust home-based applications and providing solutions like 3G/4G/5G video streaming services, gaming applications to support their customers thereby expanding their core networks to home broadband. In this regard, they are executing voice call test, HTTP test, video streaming test for seamless connectivity during video calls/conferencing, watching online videos, etc. Further, they will be accelerating their 5G deployment to expand its connectivity to a wider area across the globe.
- Providing flexible mobile money services – Mobile money has been quite in use now and the sudden breakthrough of coronavirus spiked its growth in no time. Abiding by the no-touch policy, people and vendors have started using e-cash instead of paying/accepting direct cash. Many online platforms have extended their offerings to users for sending/receiving payments, pay bills, etc. in this crisis.
- Prioritizing customer impact to make decisions – Mobile network operators are hesitating to take any actions towards providing customer offers/services realising the customer churn in this pandemic. They are using different technological solutions related to AI/ML, data analytics to study consumer behaviour and craft their offers to retain them and increase their loyal customers’ base gaining a competitive edge in the business market.
- Moving towards broader future with 5G infrastructure investment – 5G is key to reach to new heights of success for telecom operators. Telcos are focusing on faster 5G rollout as they are continuously performing network tests like drive tests with cellular drive test equipment for measuring Quality of Experience (QoE) before making it available for the commercial users.
The wave of coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered people’s livelihood and the way of executing their work. With its continuation, telcos are enacting several measures that could satiate consumer demands across different sectors during this calamity. Given the enormous coercion faced by small and mid-sized businesses, considerable actions taken by telcos is paving the way for upselling and cross selling their products and services. The ray of hope that this situation will end soon is the ultimate motivation for mobile network operators to keep moving ahead and navigating it with innovative strategies that could lead them to new networking opportunities and win huge business deals in the upcoming years.