Even as we experience it, it’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live and work.
From the beginning our people have done a fantastic job, our field teams in particular, recognised as essential workers keeping society connected.
Their colleagues, the majority of our workforce have now been remote working for several weeks. Led first by Spain and Italy, they’re adapting along with millions of others across the world.
This increased volume of home working from businesses, schools and public services reflects on our networks. In just four weeks Vodafone has seen six months’ of forecasted demand, including a 40% increase in fixed traffic in Spain and Italy and 45% voice traffic growth in the UK.
In response to demand Vodafone brought forward planned upgrades to add 4 terabits per second of additional capacity to our networks in March and April. We do not underestimate how important connectivity is to society.
Our technology is essential for a huge range of critical services including national energy providers and medical sites, from hospitals to helplines.
We also know from experience that moving office-based roles into homes in high numbers, quickly, is no easy task.
Across our own operations we made the decision to close offices as the pandemic developed, including large sites that had never worked remotely before.
Although challenging, with the increased capacity and industry expertise we were able to manage this almost seamlessly.
Today, Vodafone employees alone now host 40,000 virtual video meetings over 6 million minutes per day on the network, able to keep services running from home.
Now we’re able to pass this knowledge on to customers who face similar challenges.
Providing support for every business
As well as large organisations, we’ll do everything we can to support our customers in the mid-market and small business space through the challenges of COVID-19.
Working with industry partners, we’ve updated our online marketplace to offer six months of free access to Microsoft Teams and Lookout cyber security to all customers, new and existing.
These join a range of other market-specific offers designed to help any business adapt to remote working, connected and protected.
Vodafone has also committed to pay all orders issued to our micro and small suppliers across Europe in 15 days, instead of the usual 30 to 60 to help ease the economic impact.
Prepared for the future
Already it’s been amazing to see the team come together, working around the clock to make sure our customer and critical services continue to run throughout these preventative measures.
However, as this might be our way of life for the foreseeable future we’re continually working with partners, from industry peers right through to government level, to make sure we continue to manage demand and keep people connected, able to do their jobs wherever they are.
With the right tools and technology we’ll get through this, together.