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The impact of the COVID-19 has been significant on all industries, but the telecommunications industry has been considered an important pillar to overcome this crisis. Femi Oshiga, vice president of service providers for MEA, CommScope explained to Telecom Review how the company is helping its customers and highlighted the importance of connectivity in these difficult times.

How has COVID-19 affected your business and how are you managing to overcome the difficult situation?

In these unprecedented times, the strength and reliability of networks are paramount, as they are keeping people connected while they are physically apart.

CommScope was built for times like these, always pushing the boundaries of technology to create the world’s most advanced networks. Never have those networks been so tested -- and so critical to global connectivity.

How are you serving your customers amid this pandemic?

CommScope recognizes the need for the private sector to assist in the current crisis. We are working with organizations and communities around the world to provide much needed communications equipment and expertise to support critical industries that are serving our communities. The actions we are taking align with CommScope’s purpose, vision and values which is why our teams across the globe are reaching out to local organizations to get students connected for distance learning and to offer relief to industries that are being hit hard at this time.

CommScope’s people, products and services are supporting a variety of needs.

  • Hospitals: In several countries around the world, CommScope donated product and expedited delivery of in-building wireless systems as new hospitals were built to support COVID-19 patients.
  • Pop-up Wi-Fi centers: In conjunction with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), CommScope donated outdoor wireless access points and switches, free support for a year, and cash to assist with pop-up centers for emergency healthcare delivery and homework hot spots.
  • Free training: CommScope is offering more than 50 courses and 150 hours of training in the CommScope Infrastructure Academy for free to customers and partners to increase product and technology knowledge with no financial burden.
  • Free support: CommScope will keep global education and hospitality customers of RUCKUS gear connected by automatically adding three months to new and existing support contracts. Further, every support call will be accepted until July 1, regardless of whether there is a contract in place.
  • Matching employee donations: One of the most universal needs during this time is addressing hunger due to loss of income, students out of school and other uncontrollable situations. CommScope will match employee donations to selected global hunger relief organizations.
  • Employee volunteer time: CommScope is offering salaried employees the opportunity to use special paid leave to support COVID-19 related community outreach efforts, including check-ins with retired employees to provide support, if needed.

What lessons should telcos learn from all of what the world is currently going through?

Connectivity is playing a key role in tackling the current pandemic, with new apps being developed to track the spread of Covid-19 and connect people across the globe. But with each step forward, the world’s digital divide is becoming all the more apparent.  

What’s more, with the majority of the population staying at home, and many finding themselves alone in isolation, connectivity is now the key to communication. From video conferencing calls for home-working or home-learning, to online gaming, in addition to yet more growth in the use of social media apps among younger audiences, speedy and reliable broadband and wireless access is helping the population to stay connected and entertained

It's clear that if we are to rely on technology during this global pandemic, internet access and connectivity for all is vital. In the Middle East and Africa region, the digital divide has proven to be wider than most other regions around the world, presenting a challenge but equally a very significant opportunity for the mid-term. Working with the service providers, Commscope is well positioned to provide solutions to address some of these challenges.

In your opinion, will the coronavirus change any aspects in the ICT industry?

As my colleague Charles Cheevers mentioned, “The question going forward is whether there will be an increase in telecommuting from this enforced trial. The likelihood is yes. We could see service providers respond to this alteration in traffic patterns by offering telecommute packages for people working at home. These packages will include more business services and SLAs for residential SOHO solutions. They might also offer higher reliability packages for mitigation against service outages as more people work from home

“Most of us are now well versed in using multi-person video conferencing technology for work meetings and even social virtual gatherings. One thing is for sure: We will remember this period in history for a long time.”

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