Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• Alibaba Cloud’s partnership with Sena on Smart City initiative strengthens the provider partner ecosystem, especially with the domestic players.

• However, Alibaba Cloud’s City Brain still has limited customer references compared to other hyperscalers such as AWS and Azure. The cloud stack such as AWS Outpost and Azure Stack would enable cloud providers to address the data residency and edge compute requirements without having local facilities.

On May 23, 2019, Alibaba Cloud announced a collaboration with Sena Traffic System (Sena), Malaysia’s leading smart traffic controller, to build a smart traffic management in the country. In the partnership, Alibaba Cloud will provide its City Brain solution, cloud computing resources, and talent development programs while Sena will be responsible for the overall design and development of the traffic light systems as well as the deployment. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Strengthens Its ASEAN Presence, Penetrating into Domestic IoT Ecosystem”

ZTE NMVP: Enabling Providers to Optimize Their NB-IoT Networks

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• ZTE’s NB-IoT Massive-connection and multi-service Virtual-verification Platform (NMVP) evaluates network performance and provides optimization suggestions to the network.

• While ZTE claimed the platform to be the first in the industry, competitors can build a similar solution and match the capabilities in no time.

Growing NB-IoT Adoption
Since NB-IoT was finalized in 2016, carriers have been enabling the technology in their networks for IoT deployments. To date, there are around 100 commercial NB-IoT networks available across the world. However, with only over 100 supported devices and about 20 chipsets available, the adoption is still relatively low compared to other wireless technologies. GlobalData shows that only 1.5% of the total IoT deployments today are based on NB-IoT while cellular technologies (e.g., 2G, 3G, and 4G) and wireline are still largely used (~75% of the total connections). Most NB-IoT networks today are still underutilized. However ZTE’s home market of China is the global NB-IoT leader, and is a natural fit to debut this type of platform. As the ecosystem grows, more devices will be available in the market and connected in the network, driving the overall traffic in NB-IoT network. Carriers will eventually face network congestions in the network which may cause disruptions to IoT applications. Continue reading “ZTE NMVP: Enabling Providers to Optimize Their NB-IoT Networks”

NTT Recorded a Strong FY 2018 and Revealed Its 2019 Plan

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • NTT Communications recorded strong top-line performance in FY 2018, with revenue and income growth of 4.4% and 11.5%, respectively.
  • In FY 2019, the provider will focus on brand integration across NTT Communications, Dimension Data and NTT Security, as well as a vertical strategy through its ‘Smart World’ initiatives.

Top-Line Performance

Earlier this month (May 10, 2019), NTT Communications released its FY 2018 results (ended in March 2019). The provider recorded strong top-line performance, with growth in revenue and income by 4.4% to 1,392 billion yen (~US$12.7 billion) and 11.5% to 132 billion yen (US$1.21 billion), respectively. This growth may not be so high in general, but it is impressive considering the slowdown in the telecom and ICT market. For example, compared with its regional peers, both Singtel and Telstra saw flat revenue in their latest financial year, with changes of only 0.6% and 0%, respectively. NTT Communications’ FY 2018 revenue also exceeded its target set a year prior, by 12 billion yen (US$110 million). The increase was mainly driven by the double-digit growth in cloud (12.0%), solution services (11.9%) and global business (11.2%). Continue reading “NTT Recorded a Strong FY 2018 and Revealed Its 2019 Plan”

WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi 6 is entering the market and will offer higher capacity, better security, and more efficient resource/device management.
  • As a successor to the current WiFi standard, it will be widely adopted in the mass market. There are also several benefits to enterprises.

What’s New

WiFi 6, which is based on the IEEE802.11ax standard, is a logical progression of the current WiFi technology (IEEE802.11ac). It comes with various new features and updated technologies to offer higher network capacity and security as well as better device management. WiFi 6 has a theoretical peak speed of 9.6 Gbps, almost triple that of its predecessor (WiFi 5). This is achieved through updated wireless technologies such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) antenna systems. However, the gain in capacity is not just about offering a higher speed, but also about addressing the larger number of WiFi devices served by an access point (AP). Continue reading “WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises”

NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • NEC completed its SDWAN trial with UniKL and was selected as the technology partner for the university’s SDx Center of Excellence.
  • While the collaboration offers an early-mover advantage, NEC needs to expand its ecosystem of partners to grab the bigger market opportunity in the country.

NEC Corporation announced the completion of its SD-WAN trial with the University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in Malaysia on March 22, 2019. The initiative, which was funded by the Japanese government, used NEC’s own solution, ‘SD-WAN Security Common Platform,’ and covered several use cases such as virtualization and monitoring of end-to-end network traffic in multivendor environments, dynamic routing optimization based on application requirements, and central configuration of network switches across the university campuses. Following the successful collaboration, NEC has also been selected as the technology partner for UniKL’s newly launched SDx Center of Excellence, which brings together industry experts and researchers to co-develop solutions based on the latest networking technologies such as SDN, IoT, and 5G. Continue reading “NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market”

Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Singtel is strengthening its IoT portfolio through a partnership with Microsoft by integrating a range of Azure capabilities into its network.
  • Its service coverage is still limited in Singapore, China and Australia (Optus) compared to the global IoT networks offered by competitors.

Singtel announced its partnership with Microsoft in February 2019 to launch an AI-powered IoT network over Microsoft Azure. This is achieved through integration of Singtel’s IoT network into Microsoft Azure cloud capabilities, including IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and other machine learning and cognitive services. Singtel has a comprehensive IoT portfolio with software-defined network capabilities, a range of technologies including LPWAN standards, a private IoT network for added security (‘IoTConnect+’), competitive pricing (as low as SGD1 per month for 10 MB on NB-IoT) and various solutions across industry verticals. The additional capability gained from the partnership with Microsoft complements the carrier’s IoT portfolio. The AI capabilities enable the carrier to deliver more efficient services, especially in the orchestration and automation of applications and workloads across IoT stacks (e.g., devices, network and clouds), thus accelerating enterprises’ business outcomes and the ROI. The cloud services offer scalable deployments, addressing the high upfront investments required by enterprises to implement IoT use cases. It also enables Singtel to retain its IoT leadership in Singapore and address the increasing demand in the key Asian hub. GlobalData research shows that 62% of 1,664 global enterprises interviewed (including 65% of 57 in Singapore) are making major or large investments in IoT in the next three years. The access to Microsoft’s vast range of development tools, developers and other packaged solutions enables the carrier to further strengthen its own IoT platform capabilities, while IoT Hub offers an additional platform option to its customers in addressing diverse market demands. Continue reading “Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio”

NTT Communications Opens Nexcenter Labs to Drive Innovations Through Solution Co-creation

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• NTT Communications’ Nexcenter Lab enables enterprises and technology providers to co-create solutions.

• However, the facilities are only available in Japan while the partner ecosystem is still limited.

NTT Communications launched the Nexcenter Lab program in two of its data centers in Tokyo earlier this month to drive innovation through collaborations among the carrier, technology providers and enterprises. The program enables development and testing of new solutions leveraging the latest services and technologies offered by the carrier and its partners including HPE, Dell EMC, RedHat, Intel, Oracle, and VMware. It also offers enterprises a free use of its server racks and cloud services. NTT group is well known for its research and development (R&D). It spends around US$2 billion a year in R&D to drive innovations, and has commercialized various products such as corevo (AI-based platform), COTOHA (AI-based virtual assistant engine), and CLOUDWAN (SD-WAN). While the group has a Global Innovation Center in California (NTT I3) with a focus on collaborations among technology players (end-user involvement is only in the commercialization stage), the Nexcenter Lab program is more customer-centric by providing enterprises with an opportunity to co-create solutions from the initial stage by sharing real-world requirements as an input to the product developments.
Continue reading “NTT Communications Opens Nexcenter Labs to Drive Innovations Through Solution Co-creation”

Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Maxis redefined its enterprise strategy to grow its business in the managed services market.
  • The provider needs to tackle the real needs of enterprises instead of just replicating best practices.

The practice of consumer telcos entering the enterprise managed service market is not uncommon, especially for telcos playing in a mature market. Telcos are looking to expand their revenue streams, as business from the traditional services (e.g., data, broadband, voice) is no longer growing. Maxis, a leading consumer mobile provider in Malaysia, started this journey as early as 2010, although the consumer mobile market was still growing at that time and there was no critical need for the service provider to look for new business areas. The move was mainly driven by technology leadership, following ‘best practice’ from other global leaders at that time. Today, while the provider is still playing in the enterprise managed service market, the driver has shifted from technology leadership/innovation to a real need to grow revenue in the segment and hence the overall business. Without much success in the past (with only 1.4% growth in 2017 and 3.1% decline in 2018), Maxis recently shared its new strategy to grow its enterprise service (managed services, cloud and IoT) by threefold in five years, focusing on leveraging connectivity assets and replicating industry best practice. While the strategy looks promising, will it work for Maxis in the Malaysia market? Continue reading “Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?”

Regulation Change Did Not Impact Telekom Malaysia’s Overall 2018 Business Performance, but Pushed TM to Accelerate Its Transformation

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Telekom Malaysia (TM) survived a challenging 2018 with stable business performance despite a huge decline in net profit.
  • TM is expected to bounce back in 2019 with growth in enterprise, driven by PIP 2019 and a vertical focus.

2018 was a challenging year for telcos in Malaysia. The Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), set by the new government, has pushed down connectivity prices in the country. As the domestic fixed-line market leader with a connection share of 66% (source: GlobalData Malaysia Telecom Forecast Q4 2018), Telekom Malaysia was heavily impacted by this new regulation. The provider had to reduce its connectivity service price by around 40% whilst offering up to 10 times the speed for some of its packages in order to meet the new regulation. As a result, credit rating agencies such as Fitch revised the company’s outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ and the S&P changed TM’s profile from ‘intermediate’ to ‘modest’ last year. Its share price went down by 57.0%, from RM6.18 (at the beginning of 2018) to only RM2.66 at the end of the year. (It has gone back up since November and closed at RM3.18 on March 8, 2019.) Continue reading “Regulation Change Did Not Impact Telekom Malaysia’s Overall 2018 Business Performance, but Pushed TM to Accelerate Its Transformation”

telkomtelstra Takes Multivendor Approach with Its SD-WAN Offerings to Address Diverse Market Needs

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • As one of the first providers to offer SD-WAN in Indonesia, telkomtelstra has the early-mover advantage to capture the early SD-WAN adopters.
  • Its multivendor strategy addresses the diverse needs of around 30 million enterprises in the country.

Backed by Telkom Indonesia (the Indonesian telco with the largest market share in the country) and Telstra (the Australian incumbent carrier, which is expanding rapidly in Asia-Pacific and globally), telkomtelstra started its operation in 2015 focusing on the managed services market in Indonesia. Within only three years, the provider has rapidly expanded its portfolio and customer base. It now offers managed network services, security, UC&C and cloud solutions. The provider also offers various security consulting services such as advisory and assessments. For more, please see GlobalData’s telkomtelstra company assessment from November 27, 2018. Continue reading “telkomtelstra Takes Multivendor Approach with Its SD-WAN Offerings to Address Diverse Market Needs”