Survey shines light on how telecom leaders think Coronavirus will impact the industry.
Sitetracker, a high-volume infrastructure project manager, recently announced it released its 2020 Telecom Infrastructure Provider Outlook. The Outlook includes results from hundreds of survey participants from around the world and reflects an up to date sentiment of the telecom infrastructure industry.
Some of the topics covered in The Outlook include growth in 2020—both the promises and pitfalls, the impacts from increased project and the actual cost of meetings and reporting. The report also includes Coronavirus (COVID-19) industry insights—a sign of how up to date The Outlook is.
“There is no shortage of telecom related surveys,” Sitetracker VP of Marketing Brett Chester, said in a statement. “While the information they provide are useful and valuable, there has not been a single comprehensive survey that deep dives into telecom infrastructure and this report does just that. Exploring topics including the promises and pitfalls of 2020 as well as COVID-19 insights, anyone in our industry will garner some useful insights in this first of its kind guide.”
The Outlook was open to respondents from January to February of this year. Coronavirus-related questions were added to the survey in early March. Respondents answered more than 50 telecom deployment and maintenance-related questions that covered a range of topics. Inquiries included the challenges 5G presented and how many tools the respondents used as part of their everyday work. People from all different levels of their companies’ organizational charts in multiple industry segments within telecom provided answers on what it would take to succeed in this new decade that’s changing fast and often.
Coronovirus’ impact on the telecom industry
The World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a pandemic as Sitetracker prepared to release The Outlook. The combination of how much has changed in daily life due to the outbreak and the increasing reliance on communication infrastructure made Sitetracker want to ask some follow up questions about how the telecom industry was addressing the changing dynamics.
A majority (41 percent) of the respondents believe demand will increase in the industry amid the crisis. Meanwhile, 33 percent said they expect demand to decrease and 27 percent said they expected demand to stay about the same.
There was an interesting split between how MNO’s (Mobile Network Operators) and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) providers felt about future telecom demand. Carriers were generally the most optimistic of the group as 44 percent anticipated an increase in demand as all of the recent remote work policies point to more personal connection usage.
“Given the carriers’ influential role in the fortunes of the industry, this is a good sign for service providers,” the report said. “At the very least, recent changes in our worklives highlight the importance of communications infrastructure.”
The Coronavirus painted a less sunny picture for DAS providers in terms of future demand, according to The Outlook. Forty percent of providers forecasted a decrease in demand given that they’re the primary connectivity supplier in dense office buildings and public gathering spaces—neither of which are too populated right now given the recent health crisis.
“Providing a variety of services beyond DAS installation will help these firms endure through these uncertain times,” the report said.
Telecom work volumes are expected to change—one way or another
DAS providers and MNO’s had differing opinions on the demand for telecom infrastructure, but there was more agreement that the amount of work will change. More than 70 percent of respondents said they anticipate changes to their work volume. Industry leaders who spoke about the changing work volumes noted that there are more people working from home who need faster speeds and better services—increasing their workload. Another leader recognized that there will be a greater need for 5G with all of the remote working and increased telemedicine usage. There’s also the possibility of some processes being slowed down as more people work from home, however.
“As governmental agencies move into emergency management mode, many of their non-essential employees will be sent home to work,” an industry leader said. “This decentralization will significantly slow the zoning and permitting of new facilities.”
Fortunately, work from requirements has not impacted a majority (65 percent) of firms’ ability to deploy or maintain telecom infrastructure. This is especially true for firms that are already using cloud-based technologies.
“We’re well set up to work from home or remotely and field crews can still get their jobs done,” one industry leader said. One firm’s leader said it closed its lobbies to walk-in traffic and others are working remotely.
Most telecom firms are keeping their operations the same
Seventy-one percent of The Outlook’s respondents said they did not plan to change their team or company’s workflows of processes related to execution in light of the Coronavirus. One firm said it has closed its lobbies to walk-in traffic while others are wokring remotely.
“We were already able to work remotely, so changes weren’t necessary,” one industry leaders said. “If remote work becomes the norm, we might look to consolidate on a few more tools.
“This is an exciting and interesting time to be in telecom,” Sitetracker CEO Giuseppe Incitti said in a statement. “Dependence on ubiquitous connectivity, 5G, and macro market factors, are dramatically changing the industry and creating new challenges. But, with new challenges come new opportunities and industry experts have spoken clearly in this report that the telecom industry is heading into a period of unprecedented growth for years to come.”
Download your copy of Sitetracker’s 2020 Telecom Infrastructure Provider Outlook to see all of the results.