AT&T and Verizon reported Q1 2020 earnings last week — both companies reported year-over-year (YoY) declines in operating revenue, which were counterbalanced somewhat by growing opportunities within B2B segments. AT&T, for instance, grew revenue from strategic and managed services within its business segment, contributing to the 1.7% YoY growth in total business revenue including wireless. Verizon likewise managed to grow the number of its business accounts during the quarter, even as it lost subscribers across wireless and Fios video services.
The coronavirus pandemic has propelled digital transformation efforts among enterprises — but companies increasingly want to enact operational changes on limited budgets. Having a robust digital enterprise tool kit has become increasingly necessary to sustain regular business operations during quarantine — something reflected by peak interest in B2B virtual meeting software, collaboration tools, and cloud solutions.
But fewer companies expect to increase spending on such services as economic conditions have worsened: In mid-March, 40% of respondents who identified as B2B software buyers expected to spend more as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. By mid-April only 15% expected to do so, according to consecutive surveys conducted by TrustRadius. So while digital transformation initiatives are more essential than ever to business operations, companies are increasingly looking to enact them with restricted budgets.
These conditions present a chance for network operators to expand the range of their B2B services and potentially capture a long-term opportunity. Network operators are in a prime position to expand their B2B services, as they can bundle secondary services on top of core connectivity. For instance, AT&T CFO John Joseph Stephens noted that as demand for fiber and broadband have increased, companies have likewise been more interested in AT&T’s VPN bandwidth and security services.
Earlier in April, Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin told Business Insider Intelligence that enterprise customers were seeking an integrated solution that bundles connectivity with other services. By building momentum for new B2B services during the pandemic — when companies are looking to add services from secure providers at low cost — network operators have a long-term revenue opportunity to establish themselves as central to the digital transformation efforts of their enterprise clients.
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