Innovation in mobile technology and the internet are two of the most fundamental factors that keep us connected during the current situation. It has not only kept us entertained and virtually together but has also helped patients connect with healthcare specialists and doctors through telehealth platforms.
Now with nearly 40% of the employed community adapting to remote working strategies, there has been a drastic change in consumer priorities and requirements. Most of the government sectors and organizations are rather skeptical to invest in the latest technologies, unless and until it has something to do with the prevention or containment of COVID-19.
Therefore the question that several telecom service providers come across is “Will COVID-19 have an impact on 5G Service Providers and Users?”
Most of the government administrations have announced welfare measures to provision economies which include low-interest loans, income subsidies, EMI Breaks, and tax breaks. In recent news, the UK government announced $392.5 billion support through loans for businesses and the US Government has a trillion-dollar incentive plan including direct payments to citizens.
Even though Govt. bodies are taking several actions, the revenue for not only enterprises but also consumers are predicted to see a huge decline. All around us, we can see that the stock markets face huge depreciation, travel, and global tourism industries have been devastated, all these directly or indirectly have a toll on both enterprises and consumers.
Meanwhile, 5G Rollouts will face the hardest hit in the global mobile industry. It is a real fact that consumer behavioral adaption made mobile inevitable, but most will not be in a position to afford or invest more on new mobile devices and 5G services.
5G is the latest standard of the wireless mobile network with advanced and faster telecommunications and connectivity that has higher wave frequency than its predecessor 4G. It is also regarded as the most awaited network upgrade after its launch in 2019.
According to a consumer survey conducted by GSMA, the interest and priority of getting upgraded to 5G are very much limited. The survey also reports that nearly 80% of consumers in the UK see no imminent desire to upgrade to a new technology, whereas consumers from France and Germany were not even aware of the prominent 5G technology.
Under the current circumstance, both consumers and enterprises are far more concerned about their financial future rather than new investments and extra expenditures. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos, Nearly 40% of US consumers are worried about the impact COVID-19 may have on their personal finance. The concerns are also quite evident in several other countries, such as Japan, Australia, and Italy, where COVID-19 has left a path of destruction.
More than these primary influences, there are also other significant reasons that have made an impact on the consumer’s interest in acquiring new technology and devices. Such as a majority of the planned events like Mobile Conferences, Tech events, Sports, and entertainment events all around the globe have come to a halt. In previous years, all these events have substantially contributed to the success of several technologies that we currently use and this sudden termination of events could have significantly affected 5G rollouts.
5G network technology has been officially introduced in around 30 markets globally. But, in most of the cases, coverage has been restricted to small-medium and heavily populated regions.
As most of the chipsets and parts used for manufacturing and assembling both mobile devices and network devices are shipped from China. Due to restrictions in travel, the month-on-month smartphone shipments have dropped to 40 percent in January and a further 56 percent in February. And this impact on productivity resulting from enforced factory closures, employee interaction restrictions etc, will be felt for some time.
Work from home, social distancing and worldwide lockdown initiatives by governments to control the spread of COVID-19 has lead to more usage on home communications networks. This demand from the consumers has pushed operators to maintain existing operations seamlessly, giving them rather less focus in deploying 5G Services.
A Pandemic and panic situation like COVID-19 outbreak can be a driver for technological innovation and despite the challenges faced by the industry, 5G is in some cases already proving its worth.
Huawei installed a 5G network in Wuhan City, China in a matter of 3 days for the specialist hospital. The COVID infectious patients there are taken care of by 5G enables robots with minimal medical staff as a preventive measure. Also, medical equipment was controlled and operated remotely from a specified distance using 5G network implementation. Other patients were also more efficiently handled by local physicians using Telehealth and Video Health consultation.
Around a billion people are working from home after being isolated from the spread of COVID-19. Internet connectivity enables everyone to continue to work without the need to gather at the workplace. 5G can enable enhanced virtual meeting experiences with better network capacities and stability that accommodates the current user traffic.
Not limited to work and productivity, 5G will play a key role in staying connected through video conferencing with family and friends isolated in different countries and places. Entertainment is a vital resource to have kids and school goers engaged themselves with Movies, Cinema, Cartoon and Web Series and some of those could be enabled by 5G.
The COVID-19 outbreak and the drastically increased remote work mode has pushed forward for the need of faster and stable 5G technologies. But unfortunately global pandemic keeps the supply chain down which delays further expansion and implementation of 5G widely.
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