IDC said roaming, pre-pay and handset sales revenue were particular areas of concern, and that its research showed that would be a slow recovery stretching up to 2024.
"Market players will focus on building resiliency and agility, then seek new paths to growth," said IDC A/NZ principal telecommunications analyst Jefferson King,
"The rate of transition from resiliency to growth will depend on how digitally transformed they were before the pandemic."
"This year the focus is on collaboration and conferencing tools, security and quality connections to the home," the company said.
"There's a renewed focus on helping small to medium businesses. Many were unprepared to participate effectively in the digital economy accelerated by COVID-19.
"Mix the above with a sprinkle of lockdowns, a cup of 'new ways of working', and a pinch of 'contactless-everything' and we've created the perfect storm for a disruptive play in the telco market."
Due to these factors, IDC claimed the time was right for a competitor to make a big play, while others might still be scrambling to build resiliency or taking a conservative 'wait-and-see' approach.
"There's a couple of key spaces to watch. The first is how aggressively mobile network operators migrate broadband customers to 5G fixed wireless broadband to save on input costs. Will they start targeting fibre connections for migration? Will they launch combined mobile and fixed wireless 'wherever you are' propositions?" the company asked.
"Second, Pay TV provider SKY plans to launch broadband services in the next few months; starting with cross selling to its TV customer base. While the big telco retailers continue to lament the thin broadband margins, this won't bother SKY.
"SKY can operate broadband services on little to no margin as a device to reduce churn on its more profitable pay TV service. Will SKY launch softly, or come out guns blazing and make a more aggressive, disruptive play for market share?"
IDC's senior research manager Monica Collier said: "In this upcoming year, resiliency is critical and the telcos must yet again reinvent themselves.
"Success in FY21, as economic uncertainty bites, will be a testament to the transformation efforts of previous years. Those that aren't well positioned will focus resources on surviving. Those well positioned will have the resources to capitalise on new opportunities to thrive."