The outbreak of coronavirus is impacting industries and businesses across the world. It has virtually brought the world economy to a standstill with millions of people placed under lockdown and global supply chains thrown into disarray. As the pandemic rages on, manufacturing of smartphones and telecom equipment has taken a hit. Meanwhile, in the face of lockdowns, retail stores are being shut down across the world. As unfortunate as this global medical emergency is, there are few silver linings too. As the work-from-home concept becomes the new norm, all major remote conferencing service providers are witnessing increasing uptake of their solutions. Further, the coronavirus outbreak is compelling traditionally less digitally inclined organisations to ramp up their digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, digital media consumption through social media, online gaming and OTT video streaming platforms is peaking as more people get homebound.

tele.net is tracking key developments, both positive and negative, relating to COVID-19’s impact on the telecom sector. We bring to you our coverage…

DoT extends deadline to file compliance reports for ISPs till June 30, 2020

Telcos need to transform from digital-first to digital-throughout, eye new revenue streams amid COVID-19 crisis, says E&Y

Samsung to sell smartphones through Facebook; asks retailers to set up business page

Telcos plan to write to TRAI seeking an online discussion on floor price for tariffs amid COVID-19 crisis

Apple and Google launch their contact tracing APIs for COVID-19 apps

C-DoT developing video-conferencing platform for government and courts; one version to be made available for public

Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea likely to incur minimum roll out obligation penalties worth Rs 500 million as DoT does not extend compliance timeline

Oppo suspends operations at Greater Noida factory to screen 3,000 employees for COVID-19

MeitY launches Aarogya Setu app for five million JioPhones

Coronavirus-themed spams rise by 4,300 per cent since February 2020, says IBM report

Phishing scams related to Aarogya Setu app see a significant surge, says report

Government issues data processing guidelines for Aarogya Setu app; adds imprisonment clause for violation of norms

Lava resumes operations in Noida Factory with 20 per cent production capacity

Airtel payments bank waives off cash withdrawal charges to help users amid lockdown

Samsung, Oppo, Vivo and Lava get approval from UP government to restart production in Noida and Greater Noida

TRAI begins online open house discussions; telcos request for continuation of 50 paise per spam SMS regime in the first session

Vodafone Idea customers in UP West can now recharge at kirana and medical stores

Google India makes available a new COVID-19 dedicated website in various regional languages

Telecom minister disregards data security concerns over Aarogya Setu app, says data is safe and used for limited period

TAIPA seeks clarification from the government regarding resumption of construction of new telecom towers

Foxconn and Wistron to resume production in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka

Digital payments surge amid the nationwide lockdown to benefit telcos, says CLSA report

Vodafone Idea offers customer service on Whatsapp through virtual agent VIC

SC reserves order on petitions seeking restoration of 4G internet services in J&K

COAI writes to DoT requesting extension in timeline for minimum roll-out obligation by 6-9 months

Airtel Xstream records overall 50 per cent surge in streaming volume amid lockdown; retro content viewership jumps by 300 per cent

Telecom sector enabling 30-35 per cent contribution to India’s GDP amid COVID-19 crisis, says report

MeitY takes up proposal to bring IT, telecom products in essential items with MHA, says telecom minister

Telcos urge government to speed up RoW clearance for scaling fibre connectivity; seek consolidation of Covid-19 tracker apps to reduce bandwidth usage

TAIPA requests BSNL to clear outstanding dues of telecom infrastructure providers for ensuring smooth operations at sites

India’s electronics manufacturing space can gain from China’s loss, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Post COVID-19 period might see a rejuvenation of the cheaper smartphone segment, says Counterpoint Research

MyGov partners VMate to provide COVID-19 related information to the masses

 

BSNL’s ‘Work from Home’ plan extended till May 19

Fixed broadband data consumption has increased by 25-30 per cent amid lockdown, says Crisil

TRAI reportedly decides not to issue any fresh directive on prepaid validity extension as telcos complied

AIMRA seeks stimulus package from the government for mobile retailers

Apple offers financial support to 500 of its exclusive stores in India

 

Telcos ask states, UTs to issue requisite order for opening up recharge stores amid lockdown

Vodafone Group pays $200 million to Vodafone Idea under CLM

Vodafone Idea boosts network capacity by upgrading sites to cater to the growing data demand in Haryana, during COVID lockdown

TAIPA urges state governments to reduce electricity tariffs in view of the COVID-19 situation

Mobile recharge shops are allowed to operate as per relaxed lockdown guidelines, says MHA

COVID-19 driven lockdown is driving the demand for telecom services, says report

India consumed 13 per cent more data during lockdown; Andhra Pradesh and Bihar saw steepest increase of 12 per cent, says DoT

Airtel to pay salaries of over 25,000 staff belonging to its dealers, franchisees, for the month of April 2020

BSNL postpones online bid submission deadline for its 4G tender by 15 days to May 23

BSNL extends validity of incoming and outgoing calls for prepaid users till May 5

Government withdraws permission to allow non-essentials sale on e-commerce platforms; sale of smartphones and electronics to remain suspended

Government launches Kisan Rath mobile app to help farmers find logistic services amid COVID-19 lockdown

Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel to extend free incoming calling validity for low income prepaid users

Bharti Airtel partners Vahan to connect COVID impacted migrant labourers with nearest NGOs

Telcos ask TRAI to extend the timeline for submitting data of prepaid users to April 20

AGR fallout leads to uncertainty in telecom sector; COVID-19 to have no major impact on the sector; says ICRA

Telcos ask TRAI to extend timeline for submitting data of prepaid users

Industry has taken measures to ensure continuous connectivity during extended phase of lockdown, says TAIPA

CERT-In warns of intensified cyber-attack threats on VPN used by organisations, also suggests counter-measures

TRAI asks telcos to provide details on recharge pattern of prepaid users amid lockdown

MeitY asks home ministry to allow more CSCs to function in rural areas amid lockdown

Reliance Jio to offer free 10 Mbps broadband connectivity in Mumbai till lockdown

Despite lockdown challenges, Bharti Airtel to provide users 1Gbps broadband, says Gopal Vittal

DoT has assured industry full support to ensure network uptime and quality of service to customers, says COAI

TAIPA requests Power Ministry to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to telecom towers

Airtel partners Apollo Hospitals to launch an AI-based customer tool allowing users to assess their COVID-19 risk profile

 

Telcos warn of immediate service breakdown across COVID-19 hotspots as technicians denied access to telecom sites by local authorities

Vodafone Idea partners Google for providing food and night shelter information to 2G users

Telecom infrastructure companies seek immediate government intervention to clear Rs 15 billion dues from BSNL to continue services

Telcos providing adequate benefits to low-income users despite financial stress, says COAI to TRAI

 

Vodafone Idea launches Recharge for Good program to help digitally unconnected customers remain connected

L&T to help 20 cities in fighting COVID-19 through AI and smart technologies

IT services sector likely to see short-term hit from COVID-19, growth may fall to 3 per cent -5 per cent in FY21, says ICRA

SC seeks responses from the Centre and J&K administration on a petition requesting restoration of 4G services in the UT

 

DoT relaxes time for self-certification of mobile tower radiation norms

COAI writes to DoT for clearing dues worth Rs 200 billion owed by PSUs

Airtel, Jio to offer extra credit to prepaid users recharging for other users

TRAI hauls up Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea and MTNL for selectively extending validities of prepaid recharges

Rising smartphone penetration and CSCs would facilitate new digital-KYC to larger subscriber base, says COAI

Telcos request government to allow digital-KYC process for new SIMs, MNP

Suspension of mobile, equipment manufacturing amid COVID-19 to have significant impact on telecom sector, says KPMG

Smartphone brands may further increase prices after the lockdown ends in India, says IDC

Vodafone Idea’s 4G+ network keeping Mumbai connected during lockdown

Data consumption in rural India surges nearly 100 per cent during lockdown period, says CSC

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea likely to witness decline in subscriber base due to SIM consolidation, says ICICI Securities

COVID-19 outbreak likely to delay completion of BharatNet, says Axis Capital

ITU seeks inputs from key telecom stakeholders regarding the initiatives adopted to deal with COVID-19 pandemic

 

Government launches Aarogya Setu app to track COVID-19 cases in the country

COAI seeks urgent relief measures from finance minister amid COVID-19 outbreak

Government reaches out to leading IT companies to devise strategies for fighting COVID-19 outbreak

Mobile consumption surges 12 per cent amid COVID-19 lockdown, says BARC India – Nielsen report

Airtel advances investments to boost network capacity

Samsung, OnePlus and Oppo extend warranty across their product portfolio until May 31, 2020

Unguarded usage of the Zoom app can bring forth cyber security risks, says CERT-In

 

Government notifies three schemes with incentive worth Rs 480 billion to boost electronics production

BSNL vendors seek intervention of telecom and finance minister to clear wages of 200,000 employees

Nokia, Ericsson continue production of critical telecom gear at Pune and Chennai facilities; Huawei, ZTE claim to have enough inventory

Nationwide lockdown likely to have less impact on Reliance Jio, says Motilal Oswal report

No additional spectrum required to maintain stability and quality of networks, says COAI

AIMRA seeks waiver of interest on loans for three months

Maintaining telecom networks critical as data consumption surges to 30 per cent, says TAIPA; Urges states to align policy with RoW rules

Integrated command and control centres across 45 smart cities turned into COVID-19 war rooms

Google launches India-specific website on COVID-19

Telecom issues related to running of emergency services to be taken on priority, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

ICEA urges government to allow online sales of mobiles, PCs as essential services amid lockdown

TRAI allows six-week extension to telcos for regulatory filings; asks telcos to extend prepaid validity amid lockdown

Government launches Corona Kavach app to track COVID-19 risk; Karnataka, Tamil Nadu monitoring quarantined people through app

RBI moratorium on loan repayments likely to offer short term respite; telcos to opt for EMI moratorium, tariff to remain stable, says COAI

COAI, TAIPA ask Delhi Municipal Corporation to de-seal mobile towers; TAIPA says will ensure reliable telecom services amid lockdown

Web browsing and social media engagement has increased by 70 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively, says report

Oppo and Realme extend warranty period for various products and services

 

DoT asks telcos to provide additional spectrum requirements to WPC as data demand surges amid lockdown

DoT extends compliance and audit deadline for telcos till March 31; telcos seek suspension till lockdown end

Airtel launches tool powered by Apollo Hospitals to help users identify COVID-19 symptoms and risk

MTNL offers one month free access to corporate servers for enabling work from home

Telcos request mobile phone users to use internet data responsibly

Vodafone Idea undertaking steps to ensure operational continuity and connectivity amid COVID-19 crisis

Handset manufacturers stare at a production loss of upto Rs 150 billion amid lockdown; deferring GST filings provides no relief says industry

Streaming platforms suspend HD, ultra-HD services until April 14, bitrate no higher than 480p on cellular networks

DoT asks states to designate nodal officer for telecom to provide assistance to service providers

ITU launches global platform to help protect telecommunication networks during the COVID-19 crisis

Foxconn  and Wistron Corporation suspend production at India plants

OTT platforms to reduce streaming bitrates to mitigate network congestion

Airtel, Jio set to benefit from work-from-home trend, says BoFA report

Telcos seek extension from DoT to provide bank guarantees, COAI urges the department to bring telecom under essential services

DoT asks States to facilitate uninterrupted operation of critical communications networks

Google cancels the Google I/O developers conference; launches a Covid-19 dedicated search portal

 

Telcos request DoT and TRAI to allow users free access to critical sites

 

Reliance Jio along with parent RIL takes key measures to combat coronavirus outbreak

 

Xiaomi, Lenovo-Motorola and Lava temporarily suspend production in India

 

Slight increase in fixed broadband download speeds in India, mobile download speeds remain flat during COVID-19 outbreak, says Ookla

 

Airtel takes key measures to ensure connectivity as load on networks grow

 

Samsung, Oppo, Vivo suspend smartphone production at Noida facility

 

ONE GigaFiber enables work from home with “Double speed- Unlimited GBs” offer

Government launches WhatsApp chatbot ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ to address queries around COVID-19 outbreak

COAI urges TRAI to hold online open house discussion on the floor price issue

DoT relaxes norms for OSPs till April 30, 2020 to enable IT and ITeS companies to work from home

BSNL and Reliance Jio take key initiatives to offer better connectivity to users amidst growing coronavirus concerns

Apple shuts down retail stores worldwide until March 27 due to Covid-19 outbreak

Telcos to enhance service efficiency to enable people to work from home in the aftermath of Covid-19 outbreak

Tech giants work towards combating coronavirus pandemic

Mobile phone manufacturing to be impacted in the aftermath of Covid-19, says ICEA

DoT directs telcos to put coronavirus awareness message as ringing tone to create awareness

GSMA calls off Mobile World Congress 2020 citing Coronavirus concerns