#StayConnected! As the hashtag says, ensuring seamless connectivity for a variety of services is one of the main priorities for mobile operators during the COVID-19 outbreak. With the pandemic spreading rapidly throughout the world, the only way to keep it under control is to stay isolated in our homes as much as possible. But this isolation brings changes to our daily routines in terms of the way we live our daily life and conduct our business. These changes have had a knock-on effect in the way we consume mobile services and the investment priorities for the telecom industry.
Our key findings are summarized below.
Shifts in the Consumption of Mobile Services
There is a clear shift in the usage of various services due to the changes in our daily routines. In many of the countries we analyzed, there was significant increase in both fixed and mobile broadband usage - fixed broadband having the highest increase. There was up to 75% increase in online gaming which has driven both fixed and mobile data traffic. Mobile data traffic showed an increase at different levels depending on the country and user behavior. Voice services also faced an increased demand. Voice traffic showed increases up to 30%, whereas mobility needs of the users started to diminish in countries that announced a lockdown or curfew.
The State of 5G Roll Outs and Deployments
In some regions, especially in Europe, we would expect some delays in frequency auctions and 5G deployments. Standard bodies also give similar signals. Yet, on the other hand, the slowdown in 5G roll outs will be compensated by the increased investments in the efficiency of the existing 3G and 4G networks. Some operators reiterated that they will drive their Zero Touch vision more aggressively, since it will bring significant operational efficiency gains while preparing for 5G.
Operators’ Approach to Capacity Planning and Network Investments
The changes in location of the users has clear implications on the utilization of the network. The shift in mobile data from non-residential to residential areas has affected the short-term capacity investment decisions of mobile operators. Operators are now revisiting their investment plans and looking into how they can organize their financial and physical resources more accurately.
Operator Driven Initiatives to Support Customers
Operators around the world have implemented focused programs to enable customers to access educational and entertainment contents, while providing flexible payments options for small businesses to ensure the continuity of economic activities.
Solutions to Tackle the Challenge
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change our routines and become more digital to ensure continuity. Even after the pandemic, the use of digital productivity tools and other communication services are not expected to turn back to their initial state. Mobile networks should be autonomous and dynamically adapt to such changes to ensure availability of critical communication services, business continuity and operational agility.
In order to support mobile operators and their customers, P.I. Works is ready to provide the following solutions to enable remote, flexible operations of mobile networks:
- 24/7 automated network optimization to handle traffic increases in network layers
- Multi-vendor network monitoring with dashboards and alarms
- Remote network audit and optimization services to solve quality issues and ensure efficient utilization of the network resources
- Smart network planning for more accurate & dynamic investment decisions
Mobile operators who are interested in adopting such capabilities, please do not hesitate to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org