ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

The impact of COVID-19 on telecoms industry [ICT Clinic]

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, my column has mostly focused on the various effects of COVID-19 on many aspects of our lives. I mean the things that we have come to embrace as part of our daily life activities.

Previous articles have touched on the impact of COVID-19 on the future of co-working spaces, fintechs, learning, health sector and broadband. In this piece, I would be discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms and media industry.

What role will the pandemic play in affecting the services offered by the telecoms industry? Will the pandemic increase the cost of services of the telecoms industry? How about the media industry? What will happen post-pandemic to the media industry? How are the stakeholders getting prepared for these in both industries?

The impact of the pandemic in both the telecoms and media industries will be considered on both short and long term. It is interesting to note that Nigeria is one of the few countries that is still structurally resisting a convergence between both industries. We still treat them differently, whereas, in many countries, there is already a convergence.

In any case, the coronavirus pandemic has instigated crisis in the economy, which is heading for a global meltdown, as businesses make moves to navigate through a constantly changing atmosphere and a drop in demand.

The direct impact of the pandemic on the telecommunications companies is most likely a drop in revenue obtainable from varying mobile charges.

The variation in mobile charges is as a result of a reduction in international roaming and fewer out-of-home usage of data, coupled with an available broadband network capacity that can be used at home to meet daily demands.

The important opportunities for industries in the telecoms sector, however, lies in the ability to allow a massive workforce work from home. This could drive the need for an upgrade in capacity, and thus increase revenue, as well as spurring the swift transformation of conventional to the much-embraced digital models across all the industries.

In this new normal, hosting service providers are among available opportunities for the digital transformation. Where there is capitalisation on the expressive rise in hosting capacity, some businesses translate their manual workforce to digital, thus shifting to the cloud.

With the tentacles of the pandemic still spreading, closure of schools, remote working and restrictions on travelling has already increased — and continues to increase — the use of data at home. This will, eventually, drive a need for high quality connectivity.

Communications that are app-based will likely take over voice calls, thus providing opportunities for the telecoms industry to form collaboration with already established and potential OTT providers, thus sustaining a long-term benefit.

In this case, there is a potential for upgrade, as consumers get to realise the value in broadband connectivity with higher quality. The structural changes already — Finish Reading on the Punch

About the author

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr

CFA hosts Tech Trends on Channels Television, writes the ICT Column in the Punch Newspapers & also blogs on cfagbata.com.

CFA currently serves as the African Regional Director of Founder Institute.

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