Telenor’s response to the COVID-19 crisis

Three women wearing masks working at a call center in Thailand

The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges for our customers, employees and other stakeholders. In this situation, we have been reminded of the importance of connectivity in wider society. COVID-19 has introduced new priorities for Telenor and shifted our stakeholders’ expectations both in terms of access to services and responsible business practices.

Digital services have proven particularly important in the support of public health efforts in preventing and tracing infections. Telenor has been working with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to provide aggregated and anonymised mobile data insights on population movement to map and predict the spread of COVID-19. In addition, Telenor has provided mobility data to health authorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia in the joint effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, supporting their dissemination of critical health information.

COVID-19 has caused the closure of schools, affecting millions of children. Telenor has been working with partners, including UNICEF and Plan, to support access to education, provide digital literacy training and keep children safe online.

Read more about our work on Digital Inclusion and Child Online Safety.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased sustainability risks and a need for increased attention on issues such as:

  • The central role of health and safety in managing a resilient and engaged workforce, both as a preventive measure against infection but also to safeguard employees’ mental health and well-being

  • Human rights risks, including privacy risks associated with the emergence of COVID-19 tracing apps, child online safety risks and labour conditions in the supply chain

  • Cyber security, which has increased in relevance with the global trend of frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks having intensified during the pandemic

Using Big Data to combat COVID-19

Telenor’s experience from previous Big Data for Social Good projects allowed us to quickly deploy mobility data to assist health authorities in predicting the spread of COVID-19 in Norway and the EU, and in understanding the effectiveness of lockdown measures. Data from Telenor are based on phone signalling information, i.e. when users connect to a nearby tower to make a call. The datasets are fully anonymised and aggregated and give insight into the travel patterns of the Norwegian population.