Lockdown Impact and Way Forward for Digital Consumers

Omdia held a webinar on the global impact of lockdown and suggested the way forward for digital consumers, especially in various telecom verticals.   Ronan De Renese, Practice  Leader, Consumer Technology, Media & Entertainment, Nicole McCormick, Practice Leader, Broadband & Multiplay and David Scott, Associate Director, Research & Analysis, were the presenters. Presentation topics included  Global Perspective, Asia Telecom Perspective,  and Asia Media Perspective.

Ronan De Renesse in his presentation on Global  Perspective  proposed 3 basic impacts of lockdown –

1 – Initial supply and demand shock – Supply restrictions due to closed workplaces and lack of labour and demand shock due to consumer fear during lockdown

2 – Containment – Government mandated restrictions that mostly further reduced demand due to restricted travel, closed business and public spaces during lockdown

3 – Recessionary pressures – Further demand restrictions due to lack of jobs, income and purchasing power during lockdown

Global Impact Summary

Ronan De Renesse in his presentation predicted that it will take some 18 to 24 months  after lockdown  is over, for the  economic recovery to commence. He also said that one positive  outcome of lockdown is that it will speed up  the evolution of technologies meant to combat the  Corona Virus oputbreak.

Nicole McCormick in her presentation on Asia Telecom Perspective said that lockdown and its economic impact require a multifaceted approach., in which the service providers and the government both should contribute.


According to Nicole McCormick,  tariff responses  should enable the customers to avail key services at zero rating and the launch of work-from-hoe mobile data packs, among others.  Similarly,  network responses adjusting network parametres to favour mobile voice or data traffic and improving coverage in areas that need it the most. The government should relax rules to enable net neutrality more possible. Technology sector should provide advanced technologies at affordable rates to  enable Corona testing, monitoring and spread control.


Nicole McCormick further said that lockdown may result in less consumers willingness to upgrade to 5G , roaming revenue may become negligible and net adds  coming under pressure.

Media houses dependent upon advt revenue should offer attractive and flexible revenue packages.

–David Scott, Associate Director, Research & Analysis

David Scott in his presentation on Asia Media Perspective said  Pay TV shall experience a negative impact of lockdown and there will be a slowdown in the next set up box shipments. He said that on the other hand, lockdown may have a positive imp[act on OTT with increased consumption at home. Cinemas and advertising shall take a very negative toll as people won’t go to cinema halls and  companies will reduce overall ad budgets.

On the positive side, he said the cinema halls should expect a resurge once the lockdown is over. Media houses dependent upon advt revenue should offer attractive and flexible revenue packages.

Some Critical Thoughts

While the above presentations were very insightful in many ways, Indian case is somewhat different on many counts. For example, in India the lockdown has seen an increase in the demand as more people are working from home and need many equipments.  Also the problem in India is not of lack of labour because of lockdown, but rather, of surplus of unemployed labour who don’t have work and are struggling for survival. Similarly, roaming rates in India don’t apply because mobile network and data are already very low-cost and have not faced any negative impact . Rather,  long distance calls have become longer and more frequent as people are not mixing socially during lockdown. OTT is still in a nascent stage in India and there is no large scale  study done to understand the impact  on OTT. Hence, this webinar is important from many perspectuves, but more needs to be done to understand the India-specific situation.

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