As governments across the globe continue responding to COVID-19's devastation, the mobile sector is playing a crucial role in supporting efforts tackling the pandemic and enhancing health services response to it, according to a newly released report from GSMA.
While the report found that the pandemic has upended people's lives, health and business sectors, people were using technological innovation to adapt to new ways of life during these uncertain times. "In this unprecedented situation, people are quickly adapting to innovative ways of connecting and doing business empowered by connectivity, and digital transformation is no longer just a question but an action for many industries," the report said.
Mobile operators have played key parts in efforts to respond to the pandemic especially in ensuring smooth communication during health emergencies and improving the coverage of 4G/5G networks in China. The report mentioned that during the construction of two new hospitals in China to treat COVID-19 patients, mobile operators including China Telecom and China Mobile working with Huawei successfully deployed 4G/5G communication networks which resulted in adequate mobile coverage in the hospitals.
The deployment of 4G/5G networks also assisted with remote consultation and telemedicine. Mobile operators were able to construct up to eight 4G/5G network sites in less than 30 hours following the construction of the hospitals. "The high-quality 4G/5G networks have ensured smooth and uninterrupted communication services in China and provided strong support for the mission-critical response efforts in China during COVID-19 pandemic."
In Mauritius, several segments of the economy are in complete lockdown for sanitary reasons. However, as a country heavily dependent on such sector like ICT, services in general, among others, mobile and internet play a key role in enabling the work from home concept to unroll and keeping part of the economy operational.
In March 2020, Minister of Technology Communication and Innovation Honorable Deepak Balgobin pointed out it is extremely important to serve the society with technologies by partnering with private sector, like Huawei; the video conferencing system could be of great help since the effectiveness and efficiency of communication, data exchange and experience sharing are increasingly essential in the battle against the infectious virus. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Kailash Jugatpal pointed out that international collaboration is significant in epidemic control.
As schools are closed, web based and mobile based courses have kept on gaining in popularity and is a main driver in Government’s attempt to dispense education. On April 30th 2020, enabling by Huawei Welink Meeting System, students from University of Mauritius took their exams of Huawei Cloud Computing Certificate online and they were invigilated remotely in real-time.
The pandemic has changed fundamentally the way people communicate, work, shop, learn, and entertain, as life moves from offline to online. In this unprecedented situation, people are quickly adapting to innovative ways of connecting and doing business empowered by connectivity. Thus, the report says, the digital transformation is no longer just a question but an action for many industries.
Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been significantly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to World Bank. However, as combinations of ICTs and health, education and other services has gradually become a new norm, how to facilitate more effective use of these technologies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can actually decide how strong Africa is going to return to its growth trajectory by adopting new business models and methodologies the emerged from this outbreak.
Jason Xia Hesheng
Huawei Eastern Africa Multi-Country office