Covid-19 and its impact on the telecoms industry

Covid-19 and its impact on the telecoms industry

So far 2020 has not been what we expected. The dreaded C word (Covid-19 or Coronavirus) has dominated the headlines and every aspect of our lives in recent months. Many of us around the world have been left wondering what this means for our working lives, and the future of the businesses we own or work for.

At the moment, the telecoms industry is going through a difficult time. This is expected to continue for the near to mid future. Although recent numbers indicate that mobile and data usage is up by 25-50%, telecom stocks have fallen by 25% from March to April.

Business to customer professionals have highlighted headaches such as long call times and customer service upgrades. Whilst issues are expected with the outbreak of Covid-19, any scenarios of customer expectations not being met will be pose problems and be difficult to rectify in the future.

Mobile companies and Internet Service Providers are going through a difficult period at the moment, which will continue for the coming months. One of the main challenges has been the shift from contact centers to remote working. It is not just the physical change in operations that staff have to deal with but the mental transition of remote working. Working from home, comes with its challenges in every sector, however work that is fundamentally customer service-based from the confines of your own home, seems in the short-term full of challenges and will require collective effort in ironing out the wrinkles in due course. Despite all this, contact centers are expensive in terms of their costs to function and also that of real estate. Once remote working has been integrated for a longer period, it seems a logical solution that it should continue in this way, which would significantly save on costs. 

Operators have been forced to close numerous stores due to a huge decline in sales and unstable supply chain. While the telecoms industry is on the whole, considered to be a virtual industry, actual physical sales make up for around 60-80% of all service sales. Supply chain disruption is expected to occur as telecoms space is one of the most decentralized and dependent industries on international trade and commerce. This is mainly specific to larger mobile operators that own and manage network infrastructure and spectrum, both on the ground and in the sky.

Another aspect that is likely to change is the speed of innovation – in particular, the deployment of 5G. Some providers will be more cautious of supply chain stability. They will be more likely to place their emphasis on purchasing from domestic or regional infrastructure suppliers.

Telecoms will also take a hit in terms of revenue and profit in the long term as governments go to increased efforts to ensure that bills are lowered and those who can’t afford to pay for internet services, remain connected in this difficult period.

Despite this, the long-term future does seem somewhat brighter for the telecoms industry as it is expected to enjoy more stable and greater connectivity in all corners of the world. This will in turn, have a beneficial impact on the digital divide. As a result of continued and greater connectivity, individuals will expect more between themselves and also more from the businesses and organizations they come into contact with.  This will inevitably lead to the expansion of other sectors and their adoption of communications technologies. One example of this is the healthcare sector which will experience an increase in digitalized record keeping and communication with patients.

The telecoms industry has been significantly impacted by Covid-19 in the short to mid-term, however as our world becomes more digitalised and organizations and people become increasingly eager to communicate more often and more efficiently with their customers, there is little question that the industry is, and will continue to be better positioned to operate in the new, post-Covid 19 world going forward.