ASEAN 5G Q2 2022 Roundup: Wider Partnerships Between Carriers and IT Providers

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• There were growing collaborations between carriers and IT providers that mutually benefit both parties.

• These partnerships will accelerate enterprise 5G developments in the region, but could also lead to challenges such as go-to-market and customer ownership.

Compared to the previous quarter (for more, please see ASEAN 5G Q1 2022 Roundup: Beginning of 5G Network Slicing and the Platform Play, April 8, 2022), there were a lot more initiatives on enterprise 5G driven by telcos and other industry players in Q2 2022. Telcos continued to enhance their 5G and service capabilities through partnerships with IT providers, including AIS with NCS, Maxis with HPE, M1 with Accenture, Celcom with HeiTech, and Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson (IOH) with Tech Mahindra.

1. AIS partners with Singtel, NCS and Siemens to launch 5G NEXTGen Platform: AIS’ strategic partnership with Singtel (one of its major shareholders) has enabled the Thai leading telco to further enhance its enterprise 5G offerings with 5G NEXTGen Platform, leveraging the latter’s 5G platform capabilities. The partnership with NCS (Singtel’s IT service arm) can strengthen AIS’ service capabilities which is crucial in addressing enterprises’ increasing need for outcome-based and vertical solutions. AIS can also benefit from these partnerships to drive the enterprise 5G ecosystem, expand use-case developments across different verticals as well as lower barriers to deployment of the technology through pay-per-use models. For more, please see AIS Launched 5G NEXTGen Center and Platform to Drive Ecosystem and Accelerate Adoption, June 24, 2022).

2. Maxis partners with HPE to bring MEC to Malaysia: Despite the delay in 5G launches in the country, Maxis continued its strong momentum to enhance its capabilities through partnerships. The partnership with HPE enables the carrier to co-develop 5G MEC solutions that can enable various low latency applications for enterprises including smart surveillance, AR/VR, and AI-powered drones. HPE is also well known for its collaborations to develop operator edge solutions through MEC platforms in Asia Pacific and globally. This will give Maxis the first-mover advantage when 5G is available through the carrier. For more on Maxis’ partnership with MEC, please see Maxis and HPE Have Brought MEC to Malaysia, but Enterprises Remain Lukewarm to 5G, April 14, 2022. Furthermore, Maxis took a step ahead by forming a 5G alliance with leading global players such as Amdocs, Cisco, Google, and Vodafone to accelerate enterprise 5G developments in Malaysia.

3. M1 Singapore partners with Accenture to drive enterprise 5G development in the county: M1 is closing on Singtel through its partnership with Accenture to co-develop enterprise 5G applications, focusing on maritime, energy, utilities, and smart estates verticals. The partnership also strengthens M1’s service capabilities, especially in identifying enterprises’ business challenges and developing solutions tailored to the market needs. The partnership also plays to M1’s strength, and has conducted over 15 5G use cases in maritime and smart estates.

4. Celcom and HeiTech announced their initiatives to co-develop smart healthcare applications: Celcom signed an MoU with HeiTech, one of the leading system integrators in Malaysia, to develop smart healthcare use cases leveraging next-gen technologies including 5G. Early applications include smart ambulances equipped with HD and AI-enabled cameras. The smart ambulances will also be integrated with fleet management systems for real-time monitoring. Another application is body cameras on emergency healthcare responders to provide live streams of remote patients and communications with hospitals. While Celcom is still developing its enterprise ICT portfolio, the partnership with HeiTech can boost its service capabilities and close the gap with competitors like Maxis and TM ONE.

5. IOH and Tech Mahindra announced a partnership to drive digitalization in Indonesia: IOH’s partnership with Tech Mahindra focuses on driving the development of digital technologies and IR4.0 including cloud, data, and 5G. The collaboration provides a platform for IOH to expand its ICT capabilities, especially around technologies like IoT, data analytics, security, cloud, SD-WAN, and 5G. It can also strengthen IOH’s service capabilities and enable the carrier to capture high-growth market opportunities. Tech Mahindra a leading global system integrator with continuous development in 5G and other emerging technologies as well as proven track record with enterprises across verticals.

While there were also initiatives on industry collaborations, the last quarter saw an increased focus on partnerships between carriers and IT providers. These partnerships not only enhance carriers’ ICT and service capabilities, but also provide IT providers access to the 5G network and strengthen their position in domestic markets. However, most initiatives are still in the solution development stage. The partnership model can be challenging (e.g., go-to-market, customer ownership, revenue sharing, etc) as they transition into the commercial stage. Another challenge is in the device space, as 5G capabilities have yet to be built into vertical-specific equipment, for example in manufacturing or healthcare.

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