This is illustrative and not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of how telcos are helping their customers deal with the Coronavirus pandemic in order that other telcos can review what they can copy or learn from these measures to support their customers.
STL Partners is also conducting a rapid survey of telco responses which can be found here. We will be updating and freely sharing what operators tell us over the next few weeks with details of the measures used – so please take part and/or forward this link to your telco’s PR/media department.
The initial response of most telcos has naturally been to double-down on network and systems resilience and introduce as many measures as possible to protect customers and staff from the virus. This activity is likely to take a few weeks to stabilise as patterns of usage change with an increase in home-working and demands for collaboration services for workers and entertainment services for them and their families while in isolation.
In addition, the following is an illustrative but non-exhaustive list of steps telcos are taking to help their customers. Links to supporting corporate pages or descriptive articles are included on the first reference of each company.
For Healthcare, Government and other critical support customers:
- Prioritising connectivity for frontline healthcare responders (AT&T, Verizon and others)
- Offering bulk text upgrades to patients and healthcare communities (Vodafone)
- Offering insights on population movements and statistics (Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica)
- Collaborating in other hospital and healthcare trials and programmes (China Mobile, China Telecom, TELUS)
- Extending free hospital WiFi (Globe)
- Free-rating data on healthcare sites and apps
For these sectors and business more broadly, additional:
- Conferencing lines, VPN Capacity, and capacity / licenses for collaboration tools (BT)
- Other home-working security (BT, NTT)
For consumer customers, telco measures include
- Additional free data in bundles (Telefonica, Telstra)
- Removing caps on some limited data bundles (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, TELUS, Telstra)
- Additional entertainment content in some packages (Telefonica, TELUS)
- Free or reduced calls to the countries most impacted by COVID-19 (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile)
- Free landline calls for pensioners (Telstra)
- Free data packages for families with school children without internet access (Du, Etisalat)
- Waiving fees / suspension of service for non or late payment for impacted customers (AT&T, Verizon)
- Waiving all or some roaming fees for overseas customers (TELUS)
- Encouraging the use of digital cash and health apps (Globe)
And in terms of shops and customer premises visits, telcos are taking a range of measures from:
- Closing shops – or keeping some open to provide critical equipment (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, DTAG, TELUS)
- Possibly stopping or limiting customer premises visits, or continuing but with new isolation/protection procedures in place (AT&T, Globe)
If you’d like to add to or improve this list, please take part in our rapid survey of telco responses here.