With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 demonstrated the vast opportunities offered by digitalization for meeting social challenges: People have switched to working from home, online shopping, and contactless payment reduce the risk of infection, physicians offer virtual visits, contact tracking apps help contain the pandemic – and people throughout the world get together by video chat.
Containing the coronavirus pandemic was also a priority for us in 2020. Even in times of crisis, we remain committed to keeping everyone connected. Our multi-billion investments in network infrastructure paid off in the pandemic: Our networks are stable and we reported no major outages in 2020. We also helped contain the pandemic with numerous other activities. You can also find detailed information about our activities in our Corona-Ticker.
Breaking the chain of infection with the Corona-Warn-App
At the request of the German government, we joined forces with SAP to develop a coronavirus contact tracing app, the Corona-Warn-App. It can be used to track infection chains and quickly break them. The contact tracing app is a useful digital supplement to the Covid-19 rules of conduct.
Helping people work from home
Millions of people in Germany worked from home in 2020. To enable employees to work from home efficiently and stay connected despite the distance, we offer our business customers secure solutions. Our home office configurator helps small and medium-sized businesses, for example, to develop customized solutions for staff working from home. Likewise, our Digital Schutzpaket Business (digital business protection package) keeps sensitive customer data safe.
At Deutsche Telekom, we have introduced comprehensive regulations for working from home, hygiene concepts, and other support measures to fulfill our responsibility as an employer. We have taken special precautions for our employees in the Telekom Shops and in the field, who cannot work from home. We offered many courses from our extensive health program online in 2020. We also launched the “My Health Journey”, a new mental health program.
Supporting schools and distance learning
We are also furthering the digitalization trend in schools: not only with fiber-optic connections, but also with a diverse offering. Our extensive range of media literacy offerings such as Teachtoday and SCROLLER provide informative content for students and parents in 2020.
To make time at home easier, we expanded our free entertainment and cultural programming: In addition to a subscription to Disney+, we broadcast the #DABEI station through MagentaTV. In addition, we broadcast numerous concerts, bringing music into people's homes – from the global charity concert “One World: Together At Home” to the first digital “Wacken World Wide” festival.
Reliable partner in times of crisis
We also helped ease the impact of the coronavirus crisis on society with a range of further activities. The measures in question include providing additional data volume free of charge, gifting smartphones to retirement and care homes, and establishing a hotline to support nebenan.de, a neighborhood help portal. In addition, we donated 1 million euros to aid organizations that have provided a wide range of community assistance during the pandemic.
The food service and cultural sectors have been particularly hard hit by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. We want to support those industries where there is an existential threat to people. That’s why we launched a special solution for food service businesses: an online store that can be quickly up and running and enables reservations and contactless payment. The service could be used free of charge for six months as part of a test phase. We also supported the #lauterwerden festival and held a live stream for carnival in Cologne. The goal of the charity events was to raise awareness and support for the helpers who make the arts and culture scene possible in the first place – from technicians to caterers.
During the crisis, we proved that we are a reliable partner. That is why F.A.Z.-Institut, a company specializing in management, media and marketing information, honored us with a “heroes of the crisis” award in 2020.
Examples of international engagement
The “Project 10Million” initiative at T-Mobile US was especially important after more than 50 million school children in the US were unexpectedly instructed to begin distance learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of US school districts were able to get students connected with their schools for free thanks to the initiative. T-Mobile worked with school districts, extracurricular programs, and local authorities to offer affordable internet access to more than 2.5 million students nationwide.
T-Systems ITC Iberia organized a 24-hour SOLIDARITY HACKATHON in order to find a solution for food shortages which occurred during the pandemic. 20 developers from T-Systems searched for a technical solution to help speed up the delivery of fresh food – working non-stop, day and night. This resulted in the T-Mercabarna Solidaria app, which was developed in collaboration with Mercabarna. The app consists of a digital market place which brings unsold stock from wholesalers together with social welfare organizations, such as the Red Cross, and logistics companies who can transport the food.
Magyar Telekom donated laptops and tablets worth around 8.9 million forints, which corresponds to more than 24,000 euros, to UNICEF. This donation should help children who have no access to technical devices so they too can take part in digital education during the pandemic.
You can find more measures aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic in the national companies’ profiles.