March 10th, 2020, by José María Álvarez-Pallete
We are seeing how all aspects of society are being affected by the COVID-19 crisis: from the family to the workplace, to health and economic spheres. All this makes it a challenge for society as a whole.
I want to share the steps that Telefónica is taking to respond to this emergency.
Throughout our almost century-old history, Telefónica has experienced crisis situations at different times and in different countries. And we know that in times of crisis, communication networks and tools are even more crucial than usual. Connectivity becomes not only essential, but truly critical in order to move forward.
During these past weeks, our teams have worked closely with the health authorities and social agents to response to all our stakeholders responsibly. We believe that this is one of those moments when companies must strive more than ever to act with values and responsibility in the service of society.
Guaranteeing communications, our priority
Measures have just been decreed in certain areas of Spain to contain the coronavirus, such as the closure of schools and educational centres or the promotion of working remotely in business. New measures restricting mobility may be adopted in other areas in the future.
A global health emergency makes connectivity absolutely essential. It is key that public administrations are able to coordinate properly and inform citizens in real time; that health centres and hospitals have their communications systems available and can make use of remote diagnostics for patients; that educational centres can keep in permanent contact with families and students and make use of e-learning tools; that small and medium-sized enterprises remain connected to their clients and with their teams; and that people can work from home.
And on a personal level, keeping in touch with family and friends 24/7 is also crucial to mitigating separation and coping with uncertainty.
Spain has an ultra-broadband communication infrastructure of extremely high capacity and quality and we will make every effort to ensure that the telecommunications network works at full capacity, in a reliable, stable and secure way. We will do the same in all the countries where we operate, working to provide our networks with sufficient capacity to absorb the most demanding peaks.
Telefonica and working from home
We also have a responsibility to our teams. Within the process of digital transformation in which we are immersed, Telefónica has the ambition to be a benchmark in new forms of work, flexible models, and balancing work and home life. All of this by taking advantage of our digital capabilities and tools, which are our best ally.
This commitment allows us to react effectively to a crisis such as this one by promoting working from home in all areas of the company, and especially among risk groups. Our goal must be to protect the health of our professionals, our customers and suppliers as much as possible, while ensuring the continuity of the service.
For all these reasons, while all educational activities remain suspended in certain areas of Spain, we have decided to facilitate and promote remote working for all Telefónica employees in Spain, placing special emphasis on those colleagues with school-age children and on groups at risk.
This is in addition to the rest of the measures we have already taken throughout the company regarding trip cancellations, promotion of flexible working days and working remotely, limits to meetings and events and adoption of basic prevention and hygiene measures.
Measures for our customers
But we also have a great responsibility to our customers. As I said before, in times of crisis society needs connectivity even more. Therefore, during the current crisis:
- We will increase, at no extra cost, the GB enjoyed by our Fusion and Movistar mobile customers with an additional 30 GB every month, for two months.
- In order to facilitate home entertainment, we will increase our entertainment offer, especially children and sports content, free of charge, accessible through the Movistar + Lite application where customers and non-customers can enjoy a month for free.
- We will make the Movistar Junior app available to our Fusion customers, free of charge, with special content for the youngest members of the household.
- Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in each country, we will adopt similar measures in other regions where we operate.
In addition, from Fundación Telefónica we are going to strengthen our educational content through technology and our online learning platforms aimed at teachers, parents and students:
- Scolartic. A social space for learning, innovation and quality in education in which free online courses are offered, as well as talks, lectures and workshops. It is aimed at current and future teachers but can also be used by parents who want to closely follow their children’s learning.
- Conecta Empleo Platform. We offer free online training courses focused on digital profiles in topics such as: JAVA, web analytics, video game design… up to more than 25,000 open training courses available worldwide.
Our capabilities at the service of public administrations
In addition to ensuring reliable connectivity, we have made our services and capabilities available to public administrations and health institutions to help contribute to efforts to contain the outbreak. Big Data capabilities and management of anonymised and aggregated data from our network, mobility data, cloud data processing centres, as well as telephone or digital assistance capabilities.
The above measures may be complemented in the future with additional ones to support the administrations, society and our teams in this health and social emergency. We will report any updates through our corporate channels.
It has been said, and rightly so, that a company’s mission cannot be defined by a simple empty phrase; but rather one which it practices daily to generate value for its stakeholders. And it is not by chance that, while accelerating our transformation, we redefined our purpose: “To make our world more human, connecting people’s lives”. In the context we are living in because of the COVID-19 outbreak, our purpose becomes more meaningful than ever. I would therefore like to express my gratitude to all Telefónica’s teams for their efforts and commitment at this time.
On behalf of the entire Telefónica group, I would like to convey to all those affected by the COVID-19 our desire for a speedy recovery. Much encouragement to your family and friends. In particular, we would like to send a special acknowledgement to all the healthcare personnel in Spain. In these moments of uncertainty, we are reassured to know that they are always in the front line to protect us all.