COVID-19 has not only changed the way we are living our lives -it has changed the world we live in. When an unprecedented crisis like this hits the economy, measuring its effects on certain sectors becomes a daunting task.
Nonetheless, the impact COVID has had in the field of Telecom gives us clear and direct connotations. The most obvious consequence of this pandemic is the need of connection to the Internet. As more and more countries impose restrictions on movement, the need for remote work and even remote education has reached extraordinary levels.
Telco companies must ensure then that their customers can dispose of robust and resilient Internet connectivity. These companies need to make investments to expand their structure, simply because their demand is growing uncontrollably and the forecast for the next few months (if not years) will continue to depict a world that needs to be connected like never before.
The report of large spikes has unfortunately become the norm nowadays, due to the increasing levels of network usage. People must connect to the Internet to work, to study and even to entertain themselves in these lockdown times. The need for voice and video calls has also augmented lately, since it represents the preferred choice to have work meetings.
More than 8 in 10 mobile phone users surveyed by Ericsson report that internet-connected technologies have helped them cope during the pandemic, enabling them to support their children’s education (76 percent), stay in touch with friends and family (74 percent), and even improve their mental health and wellbeing (43 percent).
Customers rely on their Internet providers, but their networking structures have been put to the most extreme of tests. And the symptoms are not encouraging: reports reveal drops in connection rates and even a decrease in the quality of audio. There has been certain limitations in picture quality and video resolution to prevent saturations in networking systems. The whole situation is so critical that even some Telecom companies have asked their competitors to lend them some of their equipment, structures and even technicians!
When the customer asks for more, the companies tend to give them more. Telco businesses have expanded the offer in terms of the services they provide: plans with more minutes and benefits, discounts, an improved customer service and even extra services that can alleviate the strenuous experience of having to work remotely. The customer is also changing then -not just their Internet providers.
This urgent need of data has made an indelible impact on customers’ habits. If they were not used to buying things online, then now they may be forced to get into it, there is no other alternative. People used to think that they could just buy clothes, books and gadgets online, but now they have found out that they could also get their groceries and other products related to their domestic lives. People not only need the Internet to work, they also need it now to buy, so this is another element that plays a significant role in the increase of demand for connectivity.
Data to track COVID-19
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And right now the COVID-19 is hurting so many people and businesses that literally any measure should be taken to contain its spread. Both scientists and computer engineers have come up with apps or devices that could determine if someone has been infected. This information can then be transmitted to let your community and even your government know about the expansion of the virus.
The downside is that sensitive data is required to be collected. A couple of years ago the whole situation of compromising users’ data was already sensitive, but now the situation is understandably different. Telecom companies must commit themselves to gathering data and respecting it by making sure that its usage is both ethical and responsible.
The current and increasing demand of Internet connectivity will help make Telco companies more money than ever before, truth be told. But this comes at a price. In order to ensure resilient connections, a lot of Telecom businesses have had to invest considerable amounts of money to improve and expand their structures. The thing is that this investment was not planned, so cash flow issues have inevitably come to the front.
The other negative impact the COVID has had on the Telco sector is that their companies need a lot of capital from companies in other sectors that have been severely affected, so their income has been considerably reduced.
Right before the pandemic started, the Telco sector seemed to be narrowly focused on investing in 5G, but now a delicate and paradoxical situation arises: people need to be connected more than ever, and 5G could certainly alleviate that demand, but as a company executive, how am I going to be able to destine resources to a platform that will take some time to consolidate, while my customers need to have robust Internet connections right now?
This is possibly the most important and challenging responsibility the Telco sector needs to undertake: covering immediate and urgent needs while planning for a future that looks nothing but bleak.
Nobody saw this crisis coming, but as a Telecom company we need to rise to the occasion. We need to take care of our customers and we need to take a brutally honest look at how our businesses are standing in the middle of all of this difficulty.
At Beyondtech, we are sure we will overcome this crisis by working even harder to provide you with excellent service and solutions for your installations and projects, so feel free to contact us -we would be happy to assist you!