While there is speculation of telecom operators as winners from the coronavirus lockdowns - with predictions of strong revenue increases as customers stuck at home upgrade broadband speeds and increase TV packages - it does not look set to be all good news for operators. There are other telecom revenue streams which are much more adversely impacted: think mobile data packages from customers on the go (not least roaming revenues from travellers); and B2B revenues, especially where the ICT services provided extend to Professional Services.

Even financially strong operators like Verizon Wireless less reliant on international roamers and ICT services than some are impacted.  In normal times, Verizon is in the enviable position of seeing healthy revenue upside from customer upgrades and in-store merchandise, now inaccessible during lockdown.  Verizon and others are making modest extra provisions for bad debt but not able to really quantify the full impact of the crisis as yet, as stores remain shut and infrastructure deployments on hold.

The key for telecoms operators to emerge from the crisis as winners is not to allow long-term stagnation of their pre-crisis agendas, keeping cost reduction and transformation programmes on track, ready for a fast recovery as lockdowns ease