Saturday, 30 May 2020

What lessons is the COVID-19 pandemic teaching telcos?

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 13 May 20

As some regions begin to relax their strict lockdown measures, telcos must reflect on what lessons and opportunities the crisis has to offer

With many countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, telcos are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to coronavirus disruption. For many of them, the coronavirus pandemic has been a huge challenge, but also a major learning opportunity, with many of the lessons surely being carried forward to the future. “We&rsquo…

With many countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, telcos are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to coronavirus disruption. For many of them, the coronavirus pandemic has been a huge challenge, but also a major learning opportunity, with many of the lessons surely being carried forward to the future.

“We’re beginning to enter into the midterm when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, so now we have to consider what will be the lasting impacts on our industry,” said Andrew Collinson, Partner & Research Director at STL Partners as he introduced Total Telecom’s webinar, State of Play, Telecoms & COVID-19

But what exactly are these lessons? 

For the most part, operators mobile and fixed networks have been able to take the strain of the increased traffic as a result of remote working. However, much of this has been facilitated by automation.

“There are two clear winners in this learning process: internally, we see automation, but externally, digitalisation has clearly boosted through this crisis,” explained Luis Alveirinho, CTO of Altice Portugal. “We are now much more aware of automation’s benefits, so we have more of an appetite for it.”

Similarly, this increased digitalisation – and likely remote working to a large extent – is here to stay, presenting opportunities for cloud-based and other digital business solutions.

“Although we’re going back to normalcy, the adoption of cloud and unified communication will be permanent. Besides, it is important for companies to have agile, flexible, scalable network design, such as SDN to provide the contingency plan and managed digital networks with the guarantee of services delivered,” said Ravi Mahalingam, SVP, International Business at HGC Global Communications.

But beyond the technical opportunities, the experience has also taught companies about their own resilience and agility.

“Business continuity plans needed quick optimisation – we had not planned for a crisis of this scale,” said Ana Dinho, director of customer operations, eir, explaining that excellent communication was at the heart of a resilient business. “If we have a strong team with a positive attitude, we will be able to overcome anything,” she said. 

The pandemic has proven that humanity is resilient, adaptable, and tenacious. If we are to transfer the valuable lessons we have learned from the pandemic into a post-COVID world, we must learn to harness digitalisation to the full, without forgetting the individuals behind the screen.

 

Listen to the full webinar for free here.

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