Mobile World Live is tracking the ongoing impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) on the industry: this concise blog will be updated daily as we track how operators and major players are adapting to, and helping tackle, the spread of the virus.
30 JUNE, 2020:
- Mats Granryd, director general at the GSMA, opened the organisation’s first online event GSMA Thrive China by emphasising the world’s increased dependence on mobile technology in 2020, which he believes will go down in the history books as the year when everything changed.
- Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon highlighted the potential of 5G to revolutionise society and the economy, noting the Covid-19 pandemic made clear how the technology could be used to improve education, healthcare, human interaction and industry.
- Guo Ping, Huawei rotating chairman, noted the role mobile operators around the world have played in keeping the world connected, and helping society and industries recover from Covid-19.
- SoftBank Corp. revealed the pandemic delayed the regulatory process around a merger between its Z Holding subsidiary and mobile app business Line, resulting in the closing date being pushed back.
- Yang Jie, China Mobile chairman believes the pandemic will transform society as we know it, with mobile technology spearheading the change.
- Vodafone UK urged the government to prioritise 5G rollout as part of its recovery plan, arguing the technology can deliver an economic boost by transforming how people access vital services.
- Microsoft announced plans to permanently close all of its physical retail stores in favour a digital sales model, after shuttering its shops in late March in response to the outbreak.
- WhatsApp cited the economic impact of the pandemic as evidence of the need for digital payment platforms, as the company fought to reinstate its service in Brazil.
- Web Summit organisers pushed dates back by a month and plotted a virtual element, as Portuguese health authorities continue to monitor the pandemic and restrictions on mass gatherings remain.
- Operator groups MTN, Vodacom, Airtel Africa and Orange backed an Africa-focused United Nations digital health platform designed to transmit information related to outbreaks and virus hotspots between authorities and more than 600 million mobile users.
- Verizon followed US rival AT&T by amending prepaid tariffs, apparently in anticipation of an upturn in the segment from cash-strapped consumers.
- Foxconn chairman Liu Young said India remained a bright spot for the contract manufacturer despite production hits due to the outbreak, Reuters reported.
- Vodacom Business and Microsoft partnered up to provide a digital education platform, to supply demand for online learning tools as schools remain closed.
- France’s contact-tracing app StopCovid was downloaded 1.9 million times since launching on 2 June, but sent only 14 notifications, Bloomberg reported.
- Apple and Google deployed tracing software on iOS and Android smartphones, to connect to government contact-tracing apps.
- A resurgence in cases in four US states resulted in Apple planning to reclose 11 stores.
- Mixed trial results prompted the UK government to merge work on its contact-tracing app, with Google and Apple’s joint technology.
- Canalys reported the global smartwatch market avoided a hit to shipments in Q1.
- Technology conference Web Summit will go ahead with its in person event later this year in Lisbon.
- Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America union, accused AT&T of “dismissing the troops” and “adding to the pain” of a recession caused by the pandemic, as the operator plotted job cuts.
- EU member states agreed interoperability standards for contact-tracing apps to jump-start tourism in the bloc.
- Ericsson doubled its 5G subscription forecast for 2020 to more than 190 million, predicting uptake in China will offset hits in the US and Europe.
- The EU and 14 nations formed the Global Partnership on AI task force, with immediate plans to explore how the technology can aid in recovery from the pandemic.
- GSMA cancelled its third major event of the year, MWC Los Angeles, citing travel restrictions and health concerns.
- Orange CEO Stephane Richard continued to seek ways to shrug off the uncertainty created by the virus, with reports the operator could detail expansion in Africa in the coming weeks.
- Telefonica chief Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete stressed the importance of next-generation technology in recovering from the effects of the pandemic, referring to the operator as a “social reference” in helping businesses, culture, education and employment.
- Germany announced its contact-tracing app was ready to be rolled out this week and Japan said its Apple and Google-based effort will follow next week.
- Orange chief Stephane Richard explained there are opportunities for the operator to use its digital transformation strategy to boost its recovery from the pandemic’s impact.
- French regulator Arcep rescheduled a delayed 5G auction for September.
- Bell Canada launched commercial 5G service in five of the country’s largest cities a little more than a month after putting the move on hold due to the pandemic.
- Telefonica chief Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete pitched a cloud deal with Google as a way to aid Spain’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
- The European Commission asked online platforms to provide monthly reports on their actions to limit disinformation and any related advertising, urging them to increase their cooperation with researchers and fact-checkers in all Member States.
- The GSMA launched a digital event series, GSMA Thrive, after the pandemic forced it to cancel several of its events.
- GSMA Intelligence predicted IoT net additions in 2020 would almost halve year-on-year due to the impact of the outbreak, but stood by long-term forecasts for overall connection numbers.
- Twitter began offering links to news sites offering facts dispelling theories there is a link between 5G and the virus.
- Canada postponed its next 5G spectrum sale until June 2021 to help operators prioritise delivering connectivity during the pandemic.
- Three UK plans to reopen more than 250 stores across England on 15 June, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow once it receives government guidance.
- Broadcom CEO Hock Tan warned the company’s fiscal 2020 revenue would be impacted by a major product cycle delay at a large North American mobile phone customer, fuelling speculation of delays to Apple’s next iPhone launch.
- Telecom Italia reportedly agreed further job reductions which would bring the total number of staff departing the operator in 2020 to 3,400, as the company scrambles to adapt to the financial impact of the outbreak.
- Ericsson prepared to halt work on North American towers to protect staff ahead of an expected protest against 5G technology following misinformation connecting it to the pandemic.
- Vodafone UK will reopen 65 retail outlets from 15 June, with the potential of 300 more a week later.
- US politicians argued local authorities don’t have enough time to adequately review a Federal Communications Commision 5G tower plan as they focus on combating the pandemic.
- Telefonica and heavyweights from other industries launched a programme in search of projects that could boost economic recovery.
- O2 UK aims to get stores in England open on 15 June, but is awaiting official details before doing the same in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
- Mexican broadcaster Televisa unveiled its MVNO service early as it looked to capitalise on demand for lower tariff prices.
- Gartner joined other analyst companies in reporting the global smartphone sector saw its largest annual slump in Q1 this year.