We are delighted to finally witness the launch of 5G commercial services in India and Macau, some of the last ‘holdouts’ in the Bridge Alliance footprint. Congratulations to Airtel, and most recently CTM!
With the metaverse continuing to dominate the news these days, platforms continue to be nascent with low daily active users. However, our 5G B2C consumer workgroup trip to Seoul, during which we attended the Korea Metaverse Festival showed clearly that many consumers are catching on to gaming, socializing, attending concerts and lectures and purchasing items on the likes of Roblox, Decentraland and Asia-grown Sandbox and Zepeto. Businesses and educational institutions are experimenting with metaverse technologies—a space where South Korea is clearly a leader. Its government is extremely active in building a regulatory framework to make the metaverse safer, and has grand plans—such as building a metaverse platform for its citizens to access public services.
As a supporting partner of GSMA M360 APAC (2-3 Aug), we saw our CEO Geok Chwee deliver a presentation on Day 1 (‘Network Innovation and Evolution’) on the Federated Edge Hub and edge computing use cases that we and our member operators are working on. If you missed the action, you can catch her presentation here.
Enjoy the read, and wishing you Season’s Greetings in advance!
Bridge Alliance Research & Analysis Team
Telkomsel and PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) are collaborating to implement the first 5G Underground Smart Mining technology in Southeast Asia to support digitalisation and operational transformation in the mining industry in Indonesia, driving mining optimization by implementing AI, IoT, machine learning and Big Data in the sector. This would enable PTFI to monitor and prevent work accidents through its optimum camera connected to AI. Hyperconnected Network, a combination of Telkomsel Private Network and edge computing, can provide more AI benefits to the process.
Moving on to edge computing, Bharti Airtel and IBM are working together to deploy Airtel’s edge computing platform in India, which will include 120 network data centers across 20 cities. Airtel is also launching its Edge CDN which accelerates web and video content delivery by bringing content as close to users as possible. This service is especially useful in OTT, Education, Gaming and Healthcare sectors.
In Singapore, Singtel is collaborating with Intel to establish a 5G MEC incubator that will enable enterprises to tap into Singtel and Intel’s ecosystem to deliver their 5G use cases, including ready-to-deploy applications for rapid trials and PoCs for R&D.
More firsts in 5G: Optus has achieved another Australian first 5G milestone with the delivery of a Four Component Carrier Aggregation 5G Standalone data call in Sydney, in collaboration with Nokia and MediaTek. When available commercially this technology will enable simultaneous streaming of content through multiple devices in 8K format.
Maxis’ 5G Alliance, which it launched in June 2022, has expanded to 23 members in Malaysia, with various initiatives rolled out to create and commercialise 5G use cases. It adds 7 new partners namely Gamuda Land, Garuda Robotics, ITXOTIC, LinkUp Smart Solutions, NOKIA, NVIDIA and ZTE.
5G use cases continue to progress, with launches around satellites, AI and drones. One interesting development is the growing numbers of partnerships between telcos and low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite and spacetech providers. This would boost global 5G connectivity and helps to fulfil a range of emerging enterprise 5G use cases, in maritime/shipping, agriculture, mining, oil & gas, wind farms, and more.
Optus and Australia-based start-up Space Machines Company are partnering to grow sovereign space capabilities, exploring innovative ways to manufacture and provide on-orbit services of spacecraft from within Australia.
On the AI front, SK Telecom has launched South Korea’s first AI-based veterinary X-ray image diagnosis assistance service, called ‘X Caliber’. This web-based service analyses X-ray images of dogs taken by a vet, which are uploaded to an AI platform that then delivers the analysis within 30 seconds.
In Hong Kong, HKT’s eye Smart Communications Service introduced a ‘new eye AI Robot’, aiming at real-time interaction with kindergarten and primary school children in English, Mandarin or Cantonese to enhance their language learning capacity. Children can also take part in STEM and coding activities, training games to strengthen somatosensory as well as gross and fine motor skills, and enjoy a full range of home communication and entertainment services.
During the Global AI Summit in Riyadh in September, Stc Group and the ‘SDAIA’ Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which aims to develop and research AI solutions in association with enabling technologies. It also aims to localize digital solutions and exchange experiences and knowledge in the field of data management and governance.
Our BMOs continue to innovate, and be active in VC activities.
In the Philippines, Globe Business has teamed up with Inquiro, a data technology company under AdSpark Holdings, Inc. and 917Ventures, Globe’s corporate venture builder—to revolutionize how businesses engage with their customers by gathering consumer behaviour insights and building smarter campaigns based on data-driven decisions.
Over in Thailand, AIS is now providing a digital verification service by acting as an IDP Agent (Identity Provider Agent) and an intermediary platform. Security is up to international standards and guaranteed in partnership with National Digital ID (NDID), and helps to support customers’ use of financial services.
Singtel has said that it will invest a further US$100 million into its corporate venture arm, Innov8, raising its total capital commitment to US$350 million. One of the earliest corporate venture capital firms in Southeast Asia, Innov8 invests in start-ups that align with Singtel Group businesses in the areas of 5G, Artificial Intelligence, the digital economy, sustainability, cyber security and emerging technologies. In the Philippines, Globe’s 917Ventures has partnered with AC Ventures to explore business opportunities and grow its ecosystem.
Airtel announced its successful trial of India’s first 5G Private Network at a Bosch Automotive Electronics India facility in Bengaluru, implementing two Industrial grade use cases for quality improvement and operational efficiency.
On the enterprise side, HKT is collaborating with Palo Alto Networks to launch Managed Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) service in China and Hong Kong. This will help to streamline trusted real-time user authentication and access via a unified and cloud-based SASE platform. The service is based on the integration of HKT’s SD-WAN backbone network and Palo Alto Networks’ best-of-breed Prisma Access security platform, which adopts Zero-Trust Network Access.
Telkomsel has inked an MoU with Feedloop, an Indonesian tech startup which provides a no-code application and customer engagement platform that helps enterprises go digital swiftly. They have entered into a strategic collaboration in the context of developing SaaS (software-as-a-service) and a broader range of B2B products for the SME segment.
Singtel has sold a 3.3% direct stake in Airtel, its regional associate, to Bharti Telecom, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Singtel. The sale will unlock approximately S$2.25 billion as part of the Singtel Group’s capital recycling strategy.
In the US/CPaaS space, Globe Business announced its Unified Cloud Communications as a Service (UCCaaS), an all-in-one communication solution that integrates voice calls, instant messaging, and video conferencing into a single, full-featured platform. Designed to provide enterprises with flexible collaboration tools that allow them to work anywhere, Globe UCCaaS can be used on a desk phone, smartphone, or computer.
Meanwhile, Globe’s portfolio company m360, the web-based, multi-channel message platform, now enables premium app-to-person (A2P) inbound messaging via Globe’s network, allowing Globe customers to receive messages from international/premium brands through the approved and legal route. Earlier, m360 provided businesses with a way to reach audiences outside the country. This time, the rest of the world can also reach a wider audience in the Philippines!
Cloud services continue to be a sweet spot for operators, and there is good reason to believe there is further revenue growth potential. Most operators with a cloud services portfolio already offer private/hybrid cloud and third-party public cloud services; a smaller number offer proprietary public cloud solutions. Operators are achieving strong revenue growth from these services and have a considerable opportunity to upsell them to their customer base. Some have also invested in edge cloud and sovereign cloud solutions. Revenue has yet to materialize but businesses demand is expected to increase.
In Thailand, AIS Business is expanding its partnership with Cisco to enable businesses to remain cyber resilient in a dynamic landscape. AIS will be the first service provider in the country to deliver Cisco Cloud Security Managed Services.
In Australia, Optus has announced a partnership with MS Gold Partner and cloud transformation specialists Eighty20 Solutions, which will provide Optus with a team of MS specialists that will provide B2B customers an end-to-end cloud transformation capability in a faster, simpler and more collaborative manner.
Meanwhile, PCCW’s Console Connect is collaborating with cloud technology advisor Master Concept to deliver agile cloud networking solutions to businesses across Asia Pacific. The distribution agreement with Master Concept marks the launch of Console Connect’s new PartnerConnect programme.