• Xpand is Axiata’s enterprise arm providing network-based services to Asian regional enterprises.
• There is still a big gap between Xpand and other regional/global carriers.
You may have heard of Axiata, but most likely not Xpand. Axiata is a telecom group with stakes in eight countries across emerging Asian markets (Celcom, Malaysia; XL, Indonesia; Dialog, Sri Lanka; Robi, Bangladesh; Smart, Cambodia; Ncell, Nepal; Idea, India; and M1, Singapore); while Xpand is the carrier’s regional enterprise arm providing network-based services such as connectivity, cloud, UC, mobilitym and IoT. Xpand positions itself as a one-stop shop for all communication solutions to MNCs and regional enterprises in Asia, This places the provider in the same market with other Asian and global carriers such as Singtel, NTT Communications, Tata Communications, Telstra, VGE, PCCW Global, and Bharti Airtel.
Like other regional/global carriers, Xpand offers data, voice, content delivery network (CDN), cloud, UC, security, and IoT services. With footprints in emerging Asian markets through Axiata, the provider plays to its strengths by offering vertical solutions in key sectors. The solutions offered include connected transportation, connected agriculture, smart city, and smart metering. While transportation and smart city are commonly offered by many other providers, having connected agriculture solution provides Xpand an advantage as the solution is not widely available in the region. Axiata’s footprints in the eight countries also offer Xpand with a greater control over the network (e.g., bandwidth, QoS, billing, and charging) especially for domestic mobile access in its IoT deployments. This offers the provider an edge compared to other regional IoT providers who offer domestic mobile access through roaming, network sharing or wholesale agreement with local telcos. Axiata’s local presence in the eight countries also provides Xpand with access to thousands of businesses including MNCs, outbound and inbound enterprises as well as strong understanding of the domestic market landscapes. This offers Xpand with another advantage as most global/regional competitors have limited presence in these markets.
However, despite Xpand’s wide ICT portfolio and Axiata’s advantages, the provider’s mind share in the region is still low compared to other regional/global carriers. There was also lack of customer references shared by the provider. Brand and customer references are important for service providers to gain customers’ trust and win deals. There is also limited information shared about its products and services. For example, while it claimed to offer cloud services, there was no information about the type of cloud services (public / private / hybrid), its cloud/exchange partners, cloud management platform capabilities and the underlying technologies. Xpand also claimed to offer end-to-end security solution without unveiling the details of the services. The claim could be an overstatement as it would put Xpand against the major managed security service providers who offer various security services such as firewall, anti-DDoS, anti-malware, anti-bot, and unified threat management.
So, can Xpand expand? While the provider has an advantage in emerging Asian markets through Axiata’s footprint, there is still a huge gap between Xpand and other regional carriers. Xpand needs to be more transparent with its offerings and redefine its market propositions, instead of claiming to be end-to-end communications provider. This would align Xpand in the right market and enable the provider benchmark itself against the direct competitors. It is also important for Xpand to focus on its strengths and able to highlight its differentiator (e.g., enhanced network control and management) especially in a competitive market like IoT. The provider should also consider strengthening its brand awareness including outside its footprints for inbound MNCs and add more customer references to gain more access to enterprises.