Coronavirus offers telcos’ time to shine, but represents significant operational challenges, says GlobalData

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is by far the most significant theme to affect the technology industry in 2020, however, the telecom sector is reasonably insulated from the crisis as reliable connectivity becomes the critical commodity for home-working, home-schooling and local and national crisis management systems. As standard regulation and business practices give way to national emergency prerogatives, telcos may be required to throttle or filter out certain types of heavy-bandwidth traffic such as video streaming and, wherever possible, prioritize critical connectivity use cases, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData published a fully revised report, ‘Tech, Media & Telecom Trends 2020’, to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on 17 separate TMT sectors and the leading companies within. It discusses the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on each sector, and ranks on a company-by-company basis the individual impact of COVID-19 alongside nine other themes that affect that sector. All sectors will be negatively impacted.

Emma Mohr-McClune, Service Director in GlobalData’s Global Consumer Services Platforms and Devices team, comments: “Having to prioritize critical connectivity use cases will significantly challenge telcos’ current traffic-shaping capabilities and thrust them into a new ‘super-utility’ role.

“The sector faces sales challenges, due to retail chain closures and supply chain disruption, and may also take an average revenue per user (ARPU) hit as states insist on bill waive programs to keep the financially weak sectors of society online. Support lines will also be affected, as call center staff are required to work from home if at all possible. Further investment in capacity is required to meet the anticipated traffic peaks, and 5G spectrum auctions and roll-outs may face delays.”

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