Keeping Everyone and Everything Connected in Europe: European Mobile Network Operators respond to COVID-19 pandemic

The breakout of novel coronavirus in Europe has paralysed the lives of many European citizens and businesses. As Europe and the world move to adjust to the new norms of the daily life, the importance of connectivity has never been clearer than it is today. Now more than ever operators are focused on ensuring connectivity, and keeping people connected to their friends, loved ones, work places, and critical sources of health and emergency information.

In Europe, lockdown measures have affected the lives of millions. Governments have put in place strict rules on public life and many Europeans are now learning to conduct their daily activities while staying at home. Operators are stepping up to support Europeans on this temporal way of living by providing increased data and voice packages as well as additional entertainment options to make indoor time a more relaxing experience as we see from examples in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

For those working and studying from home, operators are offering free access to collaboration apps, video conferencing tools and learning platforms. Many companies are moving their businesses to digital, often for the first time – and operators are helping them with this transformation.

This major digital transformation in Europe is putting an unprecedented surge of traffic on mobile networks. Our members are acting fast to take measures to manage this significant change in traffic demand. Learn more about how different operators are managing the situation in France and Spain.

To maintain the quality of service provided by our European networks, telecom technicians are stepping up to the frontline to ensure connectivity across the continent. Meet some of the connectivity frontline workers from France and  Austria.

Mobile operators have a big role to play when it comes to fighting the spread of COVID-19. Operators around Europe (such as in Germany, Finland, Norway, Italy and other countries) are collaborating with national authorities to use aggregated and anonymised movement data to anticipate the spread of the coronavirus.

In a global health emergency, connecting health centres and hospitals is an absolute priority, enabling services such as remote diagnostics and telemedicine. To name some examples, in Sweden a new solution is helping the healthcare sector to improve efficiency and accommodate more patients. In Germany, a new pioneering technology is helping to protect healthcare professionals and relieve the pressure on them during the COVID-19 crisis. Operators are acting fast and providing connectivity to temporary hospitals across Europe like it is the case in Spain and Germany.

As the continent undergoes one of the biggest digital transformations in history, we should not forget those who might be left behind. Therefore, mobile operators are stepping up their effort in bridging the connectivity divide. Some of these initiatives include: providing digital educational and employment training; providing SIMs to hospitals, care centers for the elderly and students without Internet access; teaching people the digital skills to help them do things online.

The mobile industry has never been more important to the world’s citizens and the global economy than it is today. Our role at the GSMA is to unlock the power of connectivity so that people, industry and society are able to thrive, and we will continue to play a leading role in supporting and amplifying the important work our industry is doing at this time.

Learn more how European mobile operators are responding to COVID-19 pandemic:

Telia Company

See how the mobile ecosystem is tackling COVID-19 on Mobile World Live.