How will Covid-19 impact the telecommunication sector

What trends are we seeing in the telecoms industry in response to this crisis?

COVID-19 or Coronavirus are two terms which have unfortunately become a part of our everyday vocabulary. Whether we are speaking to friends or engaging with work colleagues, it is the first topic that is often discussed as it continues to impact our everyday life.

Telecoms Cable fibre optic

With so much disruption and the increasing threat of feeling isolated, the need to stay connected is more important than ever. Indeed Sergi Herrero and Kaan Terzigolu, the Co-CEOs of VEON recently highlighted the importance of remaining “interconnected” in the fight to overcome this global pandemic (CapacityMedia, 2020). In particular, a special effort needs to be made to connect society’s most vulnerable groups such as school children who require extra support (PoliticsHome, 2020).

What trends are we seeing in the telecoms industry in response to this crisis?

At the beginning of April, many of the UK’s major mobile networks experienced outages, as millions of people simultaneously began working from home (CapacityMedia, 2020). Vodafone in particular stated that a 50% increase in traffic was placing increasing demands on their network (Guardian, 2020), whilst WhatsApp was forced to deal with a 40% spike in usage (Capacity Media, 2020).


With telecoms infrastructure being tested to its limits, it is imperative that safeguarding measures are put in place. The advisory statements from the Spanish telecom group and the UK’s OFCOM regulatory body on limiting downloads and using landlines instead of mobiles is an example of one such measure. Alternatively, more affirmative action has been taken by firms such as Netflix, which has downgraded video streaming quality to cope with demand (CapacityMedia, 2020).

However, each of the restrictions above need to be carefully balanced with proactive measures which can enhance performance across the existing telecoms infrastructure. From satellites to mobile networks and cables, improvements can be made in every area. Indeed, the UK have already invested heavily in fibre optic technology by setting up an innovation centre at the University of Surrey.

Infrastructure improvements: choosing the right cable protection

Choosing the right cabling is imperative for enhancing performance across the telecoms sector. As part of this, it is important to ensure cables are sufficiently protected against the challenges presented by demanding environments.

At Coats, we have invested heavily in R&D to create innovative cable protection products, which make use of finest materials such as glass fibre yarns and para-aramid fibres. Overall, this ensures that Coats cable solutions withstand the test of time and more importantly this avoids the need for costly replacements and repairs.

As part of the portfolio, we also have available all types of technical textiles including: Gotex strength members (with a wide range of high tech textile members), Ultrabloc water absorption solutions, Gral and Dabond binders, Protos ripcords and Gotex woven tapes among others that will optimise and improve the performance of cables. Each of our solutions are proven to combat the challenges associated with demanding environments i.e. the prevalence of destructive rodents or potential damage from water absorption.

Coupled with this, is the unrivalled support that can be offered by the Coats technical team at all stages of the project lifecycle i.e. from design and selection through to implementation.

The future

What is becoming apparent, is that the way in which we communicate and conduct business in the future will forever be transformed due to this crisis. Working from home will become more common place and communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Gotowebinar will be used more frequently to replace face to face meetings. At Coats, we have already embraced technology platforms such as the ones above to keep in contact with team members and customers.

Street at night

From a telecommunication perspective, this crisis has challenged the industry to invest in existing infrastructure and game changing technology.

Innovative solutions will also be required to facilitate an interconnected world.

With this in mind, Coats will continue to pioneer research and develop innovative solutions which assist the telecoms sector with boosting performance and staying connected in the toughest environments. In this way we are helping the world to stay connected.

“Communication and interconnection is imperative in these challenging circumstances to ensure employee well being and productivity levels are maintained. At Coats and Gotex, we have championed digital communication methods to create a tight knit community.”
Jordi Perez, Global Lead for Telecom and Energy Cables/ General Manager of Gotex.