The coronavirus crisis impacts every business in every sector, yet in the most difficult times lie the greatest opportunities. On balance, the crisis offers telcos an opportunity to reposition themselves. Over the medium and longer term, the stronger telcos will benefit from the crisis for several reasons:

  • The pandemic moves telcos up again in the technology value chain. Over the last two decades, telcos have gradually been pushed downward from the perceived core of the technology value chain. But the current coronavirus crisis is pushing them up the value chain again — though the way upward is full of challenges. During lockdown, there is a much higher reliance on telecommunications, causing greater stress on network infrastructure and affecting the quality of the user experience. Businesses, employees, and employers are embracing a multichannel approach, thereby pushing the omnichannel imperative. Data sharing of telco user movements is being discussed to slow the spread of the virus — and reopens discussions about using data from network infrastructure more effectively.
  • Winning telcos think creatively about how to service customer needs in trying times. Well before the crisis hit the sector, it was clear that telcos must transform to become digital service providers. COVID-19 offers telcos the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand and can address current customer pain points. The coronavirus crisis will reward those telcos that embrace outside-in thinking, such as offering bigger broadband packages at no additional cost for the duration of the quarantine, not cutting off contracts for customers who fail to pay their bill after losing their job, and not cutting off contracts for small- and medium-size businesses that likewise can’t pay the bills.
  • The coronavirus could change the brand image of telcos. Winning telcos will use connectivity as a stepping stone for brand transformation and to emerge as trusted partners. There will be a push to invest in faster super broadband. Telcos will ramp up their cybersecurity offerings. Network slicing solutions will grow in importance. Winning telcos will build brands as socially responsible service providers and trusted partners. To succeed, the telco culture must become more open and flexible to adjust to continuous change. In essence, the potential for revenue and profit growth could improve in the wake of the pandemic.

For a detailed analysis of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the telco sector, please visit ForresterNow.