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COVID-19: operators’ support during the coronavirus outbreak is going beyond increasing data allowances

24 March 2020 | Research

Article | PDF (2 pages) | SME Strategies| Large Enterprise Voice and Data Connectivity| Large Enterprise Emerging Service Opportunities


"There are plenty of examples of telecoms operators that are doing more than just offering larger data allowances to help during the COVID-19 crisis."

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The initial outbreak of COVID-19 (the new disease caused by the coronavirus) led to a sharp increase in home working, and businesses had to move quickly to enable a remote workforce. Some telecoms operators responded rapidly to help support remote working by taking simple steps such as increasing mobile data allowances, as outlined in our previous article. We have also written articles about how operators are helping their consumer customers and the implications for operators’ fixed networks as more people stay at home.

This comment outlines what operators are doing beyond connectivity and how they are finding other ways to help their business customers.

Operators are increasing their investments, providing financial support and supporting research and government initiatives

Operators are working to limit the effects of COVID-19 on their business customers.

Some operators have committed to increase their investments to enhance the robustness and capacity of their networks, and also to boost the economy.

  • Telstra has moved forward its planned AUD500 million capex investment from 2021 to 2020 to increase network capacity, accelerate the roll-out of 5G and provide a boost to the economy.
  • Similarly, Verizon has increased its capex guidelines for this year by USD500 million, from between USD17 billion and USD18 billion to between USD17.5 billion and USD18.5 billion.

Operators are also supporting research and government initiatives through big data and analytics.

Operators should ease the financial burden on businesses and enhance their business continuity solutions

Telecoms operators in affected areas should match some of the initiatives set by other operators. Providing financial reprieve to businesses and suppliers will go a long way in helping them to manage this crisis. Operators should also work to match the business continuity efforts made by technology companies.

Companies such as Check Point, Cisco and Microsoft were quick to enable the free use of their remote working tools to help businesses to connect their remote workforces, but similar initiatives by operators have been limited. Telekom Romania has released a business continuity package that includes fixed/mobile internet, Norton Security, Microsoft Teams and Cisco’s WebEx for free for 3 months to help businesses to quickly connect their remote employees with minimal cost. Other operators should deploy similar solutions.

Acting quickly is important and operators should concentrate their efforts to business aspects over which they have direct control, at least initially. As the examples in this article show, there is much more that operators can do than simply offer bigger mobile data allowances.

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