Quarterly insights on Bridge Mobile Operators: 4Q2022

Quarterly insights on Bridge Mobile Operators: 4Q2022

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Happy New Year from all of us! At our recent Lunar New Year celebrations.

Hi everyone!

Welcome to our first quarterly update of 2023. A Happy New Year for those of you who’ve just been celebrating the Lunar New Year like us over here in Singapore, but also to those looking forward to the start of FY23/24! 

We thought we’d have a quiet last quarter while many of us were winding down for the year-end festive season, but we were delighted to clinch not one but two industry-leading accolades in 2022 for our managed IoT solution, jointly with Singtel and Ericsson at the 2022 Global Carrier Awards and the 2022 World Communication Awards! We couldn’t have asked for more! Find out more about our solution here.

Lo and behold, there was also that early December IoT headline which caught some in the industry by surprise. Aeris will acquire Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator and Connected Cloud businesses, and also Ericsson’s IoT employees by the first quarter of this year.

In the metaverse space, South Korea is increasingly recognised as a leader in this field. The South Korean government has an ambitious US$44.6 billion plan – the “Digital New Deal” – to transform its economy to embrace new technologies, and the metaverse is part of it. SK Telecom has also been very active.

What does the Metaverse mean for operators? More telcos are announcing they are tuning into the space, aligning their roadmaps to fit some version of metaverse into their business plans. There is still skepticism with regards to monetizing the consumers side, while they not-so-secretly hope to see some return from the emergence of the industrial metaverse.

Read on below for more!

Bridge Alliance Research & Analysis Team



Throughout 2022, there were a number of IoT-related M&A besides the Aeris-Ericsson one, reflecting how the IoT space is full of challenges and competition, despite its potential. We also witnessed Semtech buying Sierra Wireless and Unabiz taking control of Sigfox. It is reasonable to expect more such deals to happen in 2023.

Two announcements in this space related to Bridge Member operators (BMOs) in 4Q2022:

In India, Bharti Airtel announced the launch of the “Always On” IoT connectivity solution in India, a  dual profile M2M eSim which allows an IOT device to always stay connected to a mobile network from different operators in the eSIM.


5G / AI / Innovation

There have been a number of exciting announcements by our BMOs for 5G use cases!

In India, Bharti Airtel and Apollo Hospitals carried out India’s first 5G driven, AI guided colonoscopy trial, conducted using AI on Airtel’s 5G technology.

In Thailand, AIS5G, Huawei and building materials company SCG came together with Yutong and Waytous, partners from China with technical expertise in autonomous EV systems. They jointly developed autonomous vehicle systems powered by 5G Remote control at SCG’s remote industrial locations.

Taiwan Mobile invested NT$200 million in the smart mobility platform of USPACE Technology. The telco’s partnership with the provider of shared parking spaces and car rental services allows both parties to carry out collaborations to optimise USPACE’s services with the telco’s strengths in IoT and telecoms.

On the innovation front, AIS and ZTE are showcasing another key advantage of 5G, Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC), in another Thai first after both jointly launched A-Z Center, the first 5G innovation hub in Thailand back in September. The 2.6 GHz AIS 5G network is capable of delivering latency of only 1 millisecond.

In Australia, Optus has furthered its partnership with La Trobe University in Melbourne to support its journey as a University City of The Future. The multifaceted collaboration includes, among others:

  • Optus engaged Amazon Web Services (AWS) to transfer 80% of the universities core server and storage infrastructure to a VMware Cloud.
  • Optus partnered with Cisco to deploy a wireless-first approach using more than 4000 WiFi 6 wireless access points across all seven campuses.
  • Optus and NICE created a new ‘Contact Centre of the Future’, allowing users to engage via voice, email, chat, social, outbound or SMS.

IoT customer wins

In IoT wins, Airtel won a cellular IoT solution mandate in India with TP Western Odisha Distribution Limited, (TPWODL), a Joint venture between Government of Odisha and Tata Power. The mandate will see Airtel power 200,000 Smart Meters with IoT solution, of which 70,000 will be delivered in the first phase.


Private Networks

Private networks continue to grow, primarily driven by large organizations. Indeed, Analysys Mason forecasts that the number of networks will grow at a CAGR of 65% between 2021 and 2027 to reach 39,000. Spending on private networks will rise to US$7.7 billion in same period. APAC is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market in the coming years, attributed to the presence of several manufacturers keen on building automated factories in the region (manufacturing is the leading adopter of private 5G). Telcos are partnering this vertical to test private 5G. In addition, significant investments to acquire 5G spectrum in China, Japan, S. Korea, and Australia, are projected to contribute to the regional growth.

India, which is super active in private 5G, has seen Airtel collaborate with Tech Mahindra to deploy Airtel’s 5G for Business solution at the latter’s Chakan manufacturing facility, making it the country’s first 5G-enabled Auto manufacturing unit. This has significantly enhanced Chakan’s network connectivity, resulting in improved speeds for software flashing, a critical operation for all vehicular dispatches and reducing turnaround time for operations.


Web 3

In the domain of Web 3 and the metaverse, there is mixed news from different players on the consumer front. On one hand, Meta’s Horizon Worlds is failing to meet internal performance expectations. On the other, SKT has aggressively launched its metaverse platform ‘ifland’ across 49 countries and regions globally.

SK Telecom has inked an MoU with Singtel to jointly grow the metaverse business in countries where the group operates in, starting with Singapore. One of four strategic partners globally and the only telco in APAC, Singtel will share its 5G and other technology expertise across the Asian Pacific region, and SKT will provide its insights from ifland as well as metaverse-related technologies as part of the MOU. This involves the development of virtual versions of places in Singapore, customised avatars of locals and organisation of exclusive events for Singtel customers to be jointly promoted in market to consumers and enterprises.

SK Telecom has partnered NTT Docomo in metaverse-related services, as part of a wider agreement in content production. They will consider opportunities to jointly produce virtual content, including 3D models, volumetric videos and virtual cities, as well as explore possibilities for connecting their respective platforms over the long term. They will pursue cooperation aimed at advancing 5G commercial services.

SKT has also partnered e& (formerly Etisalat Group) to jointly promote the metaverse business in the Middle East in countries where e& operates. SKT will localise its services by creating iconic landmarks, cities and avatars reflecting the culture of the region within the metaverse.

Singtel’s CEO Consumer Singapore Anna Yip predicted a leading role for the metaverse in advancing operator efforts to deliver smart manufacturing, though she offered an honest assessment of the current state of play in terms of network capabilities and staff skill levels. Watch this interview for more of her insights, including the potential of the metaverse for Singtel.

In the Philippines, Globe has brought Filipinos to the metaverse with its Virtual Hangouts platform, delivering a “phygital” experience to users who can  create their avatars, chat with each other, make video calls, and participate in interactive activities within the portal. On top of this, VH Metaverse hosts an exclusive virtual space for Globe employees called The Globe Hangout Tower as they continue to work on a hybrid mode.

In India, Airtel unveiled the country’s first immersive Virtual Reality (VR) advertisement powered by 5G. The advertisement format on the Airtel Thanks app opens new avenues for brands to engage with consumers in an immersive environment that was previously not possible in the traditional advertising paradigm. Airtel has roped in some of India’s leading brands such as PepsiCo and SonyLIV to create a pilot.



On the enterprise business side, our BMOs made quite a few announcements.

Singtel has entered the data centre market in Indonesia, through a strategic partnership with Telkom and Indonesian energy company Medco Power.The new hyperscale data centre will be located in Kabil Industrial Estate along Batam’s eastern seaboard and will be built with dual-source power including clean, renewable energy from Medco Power.

In the Philippines, Globe’s IT solutions company Yondu is now a select partner of Cisco, which enables the operator to expand its product offerings for Managed Networks— a complete connectivity solution that consists of routing, switching, and wireless solutions and SD-WAN services.

Singtel has inked a two-year contract with Knosys Limited, a global software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm. The value of the contract for the use of KnowledgeIQ, Knosys’ knowledge management platform, is expected to be $750,000. In addition, Singtel will upgrade to the latest release of KnowledgeIQ over the next six months to benefit from the new product features and capabilities.



On the Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) front, more telcos are venturing into this space, by investing in or launching their own CPaaS solutions, while existing leaders are upping their game through onboarding more capabilities.

In December, Airtel and Meta announced that they would jointly invest in global connectivity infrastructure and CPaaS based new-age digital solutions to support the emerging requirements of customers and enterprises in India. Meta’s Whatsapp will be integrated within Airtel IQ, the operator’s CPaaS platform, thus enabling businesses to use Whatsapp’s features and reach for customer engagement.

We gave our BMOs (and ourselves) a small pat on the back as we, together with Globe Telecom, Singtel and Telkomsel won the Cloud Technology Initiative category at the Asia Communication Awards 2022 for our cloud-based CPaaS solution! Our comprehensive cloud-based CPaaS enables our member operators to transform their traditional telco services into innovative real-time communication tools that today’s customers demand. 



Demand for cloud services is only increasing as more companies turn to the cloud to leverage its scalability, cost savings, security and flexibility benefits. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public cloud revenues are expected to jump by 26% and hit $525bn in 2023.

AIS Business is the first VMware Partner in SEA & Korea to launch the VMware Sovereign Cloud, enabling enterprises to run sensitive and regulated workloads on a secure, compliant national cloud that meets national data residency and data sovereignty requirements.

In cloud gaming, CTM Macau has launched cloud gaming services for its customers through a partnership with cloud infrastructure provider Radian Arc and gaming platform Blacknut. Subscribers can now access Blacknut’s large library of over 500 premium games directly on their compatible devices.