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.

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TODAY (1 JUNE, 2020):

  • Mexican broadcaster Televisa unveiled its MVNO service early as it looked to capitalise on demand for lower tariff prices.

29 MAY

  • Network traffic increases during Covid-19 lockdown measures did not lead to huge spikes in energy consumption and carbon emissions, with both remaining mostly flat during the period, a GSMA survey found.
  • AT&T and Verizon outlined plans to continue deployment of 5G fixed wireless access services, claiming the offerings could now be more valuable to consumers.

28 MAY

  • Singtel reported weak business and consumer sentiment in its fiscal Q4, with revenue down 10 per cent and no guidance offered for its next 12 month period.
  • India accelerated 4G auction plans after major operators lobbied for the sale to help meet increased data traffic during lockdowns.

27 MAY

  • Apple unveiled plans to reopen around 100 of its stores in the US by the end of this week, though with strict safety measures in place.

26 MAY

  • UK market leader EE said its network recorded a 45 per cent increase in traffic for communication apps during lockdown in the country, with WhatsApp, Houseparty, Skype and Teams being the most used services.
  • SK Telecom partnered with Omron Electronics Korea to develop a robot capable of autonomously carrying out monitoring activities to automate safety checks and prevent the spread of the virus.

22 MAY:

  • Fitbit launched a health study within its fitness app to determine whether data from its trackers and smartwatches might be used to detect Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Non-profit organisation CVKey Project unveiled plans to launch a suite of apps giving access to public venues using QR codes.

21 MAY:

  • T-Mobile US officially launched an emergency services connectivity programme first announced late in 2019, playing up the offer as a life-saver for cash-strapped local and state-level providers strained by the pandemic.
  • Apple and Google launched a jointly-developed exposure tracking technology, designed to enable health authorities to develop contact-tracing apps.
  • UK MPs reportedly asked Google, Twitter and Facebook to answer questions about misinformation publicised on their platforms.
  • Xiaomi bucked the trend by growing smartphone shipments in Q1 despite pandemic-related factory shutdowns, though expects a bigger hit during the current three-month period.
  • Axiata Group chief Jamaludin Ibrahim said a likely impact to revenue was worth it to “respond responsibly to society’s needs” during the outbreak.

20 MAY:

  • During its AGM Orange CEO Stephane Richard told shareholders the pandemic highlighted the need for the social and environmental policies in its latest five-year plan, while also creating opportunities around adoption of next generation connectivity.
  • Lenovo lamented the impact on its mobile business in its fiscal Q4, as it was forced to shut down its primary global factory in the Chinese city of Wuhan which contributed to a sharp revenue dip.

19 MAY:

  • The 5G Open Innovation Lab, which includes T-Mobile US and Intel among its backers, switched to a virtual format to enable work on developing use cases for the technology to commence.
  • Organisers of the IFA consumer electronics show bucked a recent trend by detailing plans to hold a physical event rather than virtual, albeit with strict restrictions.

18 MAY:

  • Organisers of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) called-off its annual trade show, due to be held in September in Amsterdam, due to the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Foxconn recorded a massive profit decline and double-digit drop in revenue in Q1, as the outbreak caused production delays and depressed consumer demand.

15 MAY:

14 MAY:

  • Deutsche Telekom maintained stability despite the effects of the pandemic in Q1: it predicted limited impact on revenue going forward, as any declines would be offset by growth elsewhere.
  • MTN Group implemented cost control measures across its operations in preparation for an expected economic hit from the pandemic later in the year.
  • Tencent recorded a sharp jump in games and social network revenue in the first quarter, as lockdown measures in China increased use of its online services.
  • Industry group USTelecom called on US politicians to provide financial aid, to cover rising costs from operators with customers in arrears.

13 MAY: 

  • USTelecom and the Competitive Carriers Association urged US politicians to provide financial aid to cover mounting costs associated with relief packages operators provided to customers.
  • Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava emphasised the company was in a strong position to deal with market uncertainty, but admitted as Africa lagged much of the world in terms of the pandemic it was difficult to accurately forecast its impact.
  • Sony’s ongoing woes in mobile intensified, with the segment recording a sharp dip in quarterly revenue, attributed to Covid-19 supply and production issues, and a related drop in demand.

12 MAY:

  • Austria moved to get a second auction of 5G spectrum back on track, after being forced to postpone the move due to the outbreak.
  • Orange began reopening stores in France as the country relaxed lockdown rules, with 176 already back in action and a goal of having almost all operational by the end of May.
  • Vodafone Group declined to provide financial guidance for the year as CFO Margherita Della Valle warned of a significant hit in fiscal H1, with roaming revenue likely to be hard hit.
  • Iliad admitted Q1 2020 was marred by the pandemic, which affected sales, subscriber growth and planned infrastructure rollouts.
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, founder of short-form video streaming start-up Quibi blamed the virus for sluggish uptake.
  • New Zealand dropped an auction of 3.5GHz spectrum in favour of direct allocation to operators, after previously delaying the process due to the outbreak.
  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute established a group to design a framework that delivers interoperability and privacy standards for contact-tracing apps.

11 MAY:

  • Synchronoss Technologies slashed 10 per cent of its staff and cut executive pay as part of a cost-reduction and restructuring effort designed to help the company weather the pandemic and increase efficiency.
  • Vodacom Group pointed to a 40 per cent uplift in data traffic in South Africa during the lockdown period, as it insisted its business would remain resilient in the face of the pandemic.
  • Japan-based operator SoftBank Corp expects little material impact from the pandemic in the current fiscal year (to end-March 2021), with subscriber gains tipped to offset retail footfall.

8 MAY:

  • The World Health Organisation reportedly plans to offer an app allowing people to check whether they are infected based on their symptoms.
  • Apple made preparations to reopen stores in four US states from 11 May, after closing all its locations in the country in March.
  • IDC said it could take until Q4 for smartphone shipments in China to bounce back, after the largest-ever annual decline in the opening three months.

7 MAY:

6 MAY:

  • T-Mobile US posted strong Q1 results, but forecast a hefty financial hit from pandemic-related expenses and sharp decline in net subscriber additions in the current period.
  • Opensignal VP of analysis Ian Fogg said research into 5G data rates highlighted the importance of staying the course on deployments of the technology as part of efforts to meet heightened demand for mobile connectivity during the pandemic and beyond.

5 MAY:

  • AT&T joined the Open Covid Pledge initiative, promising temporary free access to its patent portfolio to aid research, development and deployment of medical equipment, network products, software solutions and other technology to assist in fighting the outbreak.
  • French minister for the Digital Economy, Cedric O, told BFM Business the country hoped to begin testing a contact tracing app on 11 May, with the goal of releasing it by 2 June.
  • Facebook subsidiary Oculus could be forced to delay a VR headset launch until 2021.

4 MAY:

  • Apple and Google emphasised the privacy credentials of their joint contact tracing app work, as they released sample code to enable development to commence.
  • Authorities in New Zealand became the latest to postpone a 5G auction due to the outbreak, delaying a 3.5GHz sale after consulting with bidders.