The coronavirus outbreak has reduced the number of new customers signing up for telecommunications services worldwide. But on the flipside, wireless and wireline carriers, cable companies and other telcos are also losing fewer customers. This significant, sudden change in customer behavior is no surprise; switching cell phone plans or making other telecom purchases is a lower priority—or simply not possible—for many right now. In addition, the crisis has caused many telcos’ retail stores to close, made it unsafe in many cases for technicians to perform home installations, and delayed moves to new homes, which often trigger purchases of broadband, TV, and related services. But if telcos take proactive steps and do right by their customers, they can limit the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on their businesses and bounce back faster and stronger.
Ron Kermisch, Cory Needle and Alex Dahlke are partners in Bain & Company’s Telecommunications and Media & Entertainment practices. Ron is based in Boston, Cory in New York, and Alex in Frankfurt. The authors thank Bain principal Alexandre Mercier for his contributions to this article.