Operators outline challenges in upgrading operations

Operators outline challenges in upgrading operations

LIVE FROM FUTURENET ASIA 2023: Telenor urged the telecoms industry to fully tap into data to become true technology companies in a bid to capture new opportunities in their pursuit of growth. Industry executives opened up on the challenges in transforming their businesses to find new revenue streams, with some arguing thatthe telecoms industry is at a standstill, which can be remedied by opening up network ecosystems to partners. 

Speaking at Futurenet Asia in Singapore today (October 18th) during a keynote panel, Axiata Group Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Thomas Hundt (pictured, left) said no operator has made significant strides in their digital transformation, pointing to automating networks as an example. 

“When it comes to network automation, everyone is still at the basic level. Some operators are saying they're more advanced here and there but in the end, they’re all using more or less the same technology stack,” Hundt. 

Telenor Asia Head of Business/Partnerships and SVP Eugene Teh Yee argued that while certain tangible network automations are already here, they are not being used widely. He highlighted how Telenor and industry body the TM Forum are developing an automation initiative centred on aiding operators to be more energy efficient, by having part of their networks switch off during low traffic periods. 

“We don’t have to wait three years down the road, these types of automation use cases are out there", said Yee.

Chasing Growth

Yee continued by highlighting the challenge the telecoms sector is facing in developing new revenue channels. He highlighted the shipping industry tapping into connectivity solutions to deliver on safety and efficiency targets. Dock workers can now work remotely from an operations centre to keep them away from dangerous areas, containers can be verified from there, and this all needs less manpower to conduct.

“Operators need to make the right proposition of their technology being used in such businesses. Telcos are now more able to participate in a sector’s change", said Yee. 

Building on this point, Singtel Enterprise Business managing director Lim Seng Kong noted how nerwork providers are often labelled as "dumb pipes, a commodity" and "companies that have cannibalised themselves". But CSPs can take inspiration from Microsoft which now labels itself as a platform provider - a move that telecoms can mirror, Kong argued. 

Lim pointed to how APIs enables CSPs to "embed our services into vertical solutions and different use cases", thus enabling the creation of synergies between telcos and other sectors.

However, the Singtel director conceded even by platforming other sectors, this will never be as profitable as core network services. 

"We have a lot of pressure from the adjacencies we're expanding to, but let's be frank they can never be as profitable as the network business," noted Lim. 

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