Like its peers, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant (yet, not wholly unexpected) impact on the global communications space. After all, global lockdowns have meant that customers are spending more time at home. This, naturally, bodes well for data consumption rates.

Unsurprisingly, then, players in this space are stepping up their game. Increasing network resilience and implementing a slew of measures that benefit the customer are atop their priority lists. At the end of the day, though, the question remains - is saying that this is the sector's Black Swan moment be overstating the obvious?

On their part, key technology influencers opt for a cautious approach. Excerpts…

SIMON COCKING Chief Editor, Irish Tech News and Crypto Commonwealth

While the covid-19 pandemic has been hugely disruptive, it has also been a potentially revolutionary catalyst for pushing many areas of the world, some more willing than others intro embracing digital first ways of doing things. The technology was often already available, but now there is a clear use case for why it is important to have good online connectivity and global communications. This could be the push to adoption that we have been hoping would happen sooner rather than later.

RONALD VAN LOON Global Top 10 Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things Influencer

COVID-19 has a profound impact on telecommunications; people are working from home and require reliable networks and connectivity. 5G investments are increasingly critical to support short and long-term network demand. But significant supply chain disruption might stall 5G equipment manufacturing and delivery, calling for emerging and diversified resilience models to ensure future 5G development.

RAJAN S. MATHEWS Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)

The industry continues to ensure the uptime of their networks remain at 99.99 per cent, while maintaining key quality of service parameters. At the initial phase of the lockdown, the telecom sector aggressively pursued with all the stakeholder's initiatives that would provide safety, accessibility, and bandwidth to mobile phone users during these challenging times. The industry has also gone the extra mile to ensure those in the “bottom of the pyramid” receive some free voice services and SMS services during the period of the lockdown.

MARK NEWMAN Chief Analyst, TM Forum

Telecoms network have, so far, demonstrated that they are robust, resilient and have coped well with the huge increase in traffic that has resulted from Covid-19 and the lockdown. Inevitably the crisis will have an impact on telecoms operators' financial results. There will be a sharp reduction in net additions but, at the same time, we expect a decline in churn rates. Telecoms operators will be impacted by the late payment and non-payment of bills and a decline in mobile top-ups. In the longer term, business failures will necessarily be an issue. However, we are also seeing strong demand for faster home broadband packages. And as businesses accelerate their digital transformations to protect themselves from future pandemics telecoms operators will have a role to play in delivering ICT solutions.

DANIEL STEEVES Chief Executive Officer, Steeves Solutions Germany and Nigeria

The immediate challenge facing telecoms providers and operators is simply delivering business as usual. Yes, the focuses and circumstances are adjusted and yes, their clients are desperate for immediate results (from a reduced workforce facing extraordinary challenges) and yes, they are working toward the moving target of an as-of-yet undetermined 'new normal' for themselves and their clients.

Other than that, it is business as usual across the telco sector!

DR MAHESH UPPAL Director, Com First (India)

COVID 19 has, ironically, been good for the communications industry especially India's. Usage (and consequently) revenues have spiked. This is especially true for domestic connections. However, this might be difficult to sustain if the lock down makes it difficult to expand and maintain networks and infrastructure, Going forward, a key concern related to work from home, is privacy and security of communications since home environments are typically much less secure