Operators can take a number of steps in partnership with their enterprise customers to drive the emergence of new, valuable 5G services. Repurposing existing 5G trials for pandemic-related use cases, while refining cloud and analytics solutions for health care providers and governments, can make a positive impact on society and the way we prepare for a future crisis.
In addition, network slicing can deliver customized 5G connectivity to health care providers and public sector agencies in ways that can enhance responses to future crises. Operators can drive new ecosystems that deliver innovative end-to-end solutions at scale and at speed. To make this happen, they must engage in proactive conversations with their enterprise customers today.
The concept of “vulnerable customers” is changing due to the crisis. Age, location, income, profession and physical or mental health could all inform future definitions of vulnerability. These concepts are much more than just a compliance issue. Operators should proactively address changing regulations to ensure their service offerings are sensitized to this increasingly diverse group.
Telcos’ renewed social purpose can also energize their workforce and talent agenda beyond the current crisis. Millennials are increasingly attracted to careers with a social conscience in purpose-led organizations. By reframing their company values to emphasize their social role, telcos can attract the next generation of leading science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates to power the digital society in years to come.
Taking charge of a fluid regulatory landscape
The regulatory environment continues to change as a result of the pandemic, adding to the uncertainties operators are facing. The release of 5G spectrum has been deferred in some markets, but accelerated in others. Existing data privacy and protection rules do not provide adequate guidance for the development of location-based infection tracking and monitoring. While some regulators are taking a more lenient stand on compliance obligations during the crisis, the overall levels of regulatory certainty are lacking at the moment.