Telstra Collaborates with China Unicom, KT, and Telefonica to Co-Develop Edge Computing Platform

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• Joining the collaboration enables Telstra to accelerate its edge computing strategy and expand the service globally.

• Telstra could consider partnering with the hyperscalers to provide wider cloud options for edge computing applications and offer differentiated services.

Edge computing is picking up its momentum globally with various announcements by telcos and cloud providers in recent months. Google announced Anthos for Telecom, Global Mobile Edge Cloud (GMEC), and a partnership with AT&T last week. AWS launched Wavelength (AWS compute and storage within Verizon’s 5G network) in December 2019 and announced partnerships with Verizon and Vodafone in the same month.

On February 27th, nine European and Asia-Pacific telcos (China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telefonica, and TIM) announced collaboration to co-develop an interoperable edge computing platform with the support of the GSMA through its Operator Platform Project. A week after the announcement, Telstra signed an MoU to join China Unicom, KT, and Telefonica in the initiative. The initial phase of the collaboration focuses on the development of edge computing capabilities and platform interoperability across different networks and geographies. The next stage will include the development of mobility use cases across borders and federation capabilities.

Continue reading “Telstra Collaborates with China Unicom, KT, and Telefonica to Co-Develop Edge Computing Platform”

Alibaba Cloud Continues Its Momentum in ASEAN as Competition Increases

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Alibaba Cloud strengthens its ASEAN presence with a new win in East Malaysia and its first event in Indonesia.
  • As competition intensifies, it is important for the cloud provider to expand its partner ecosystem, especially with the domestic players.

The Southeast Asia region (a.k.a. ASEAN) has been a new battleground for the hyperscalers for a few years. Cloud adoption is still relatively low compared to other markets. As the cloud becomes a commodity and the market grows, this opportunity has attracted global hyperscalers to expand their presence in the region. Alibaba Cloud opened its data centers in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Google announced in October 2018 that it will have its Indonesian data centers ready in early 2020, and AWS responded with a similar announcement in April 2019. These global hyperscalers are also offering their respective cloud stacks (e.g., AWS Outposts, Alibaba Apsara Stack, Google Anthos, and Azure Stack) for deployments in customers or third-party data centers to address the data residency requirement. They have also been strengthening their domestic presence by expanding the in-country sales forces and their partner ecosystem in the region through various collaborations with local providers, governments (such as universities), and other vertical players. Some of Alibaba’s recent initiatives include its partnership with SCC to offer Sabah Pay in East Malaysia and its first Cloud Day event in Indonesia. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Continues Its Momentum in ASEAN as Competition Increases”

Maxis Strengthens Its IoT Portfolio with Microsoft Azure

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Maxis is enhancing its IoT portfolio with Microsoft Azure to deliver solutions more efficiently and provide flexibility in the market.
  • While it is a positive move, Maxis could consider integrating Azure features into its IoT network, collaborate on MEC and strengthen its professional services capabilities.

Maxis recently announced its partnership with Microsoft to enhance its IoT portfolio (note: the partnership also includes cloud and UC, but this article discusses the IoT collaboration). Through the partnership, Maxis will be using Microsoft Azure IoT in its offering. Azure is ranked as ‘very strong’ by GlobalData in the ‘Enterprise IoT Platforms’ category and stands out with its development capabilities such as IoT Toolkit, its open source platform and initiatives with the developer community. Azure IoT is also used by many leading carriers in their IoT solutions, including AT&T, Singtel, Telstra and Vodafone. For Maxis, this partnership provides a significant upgrade to its previous M2M platform that has been in place for many years. Microsoft Azure IoT enables Maxis to address various limitations of its IoT solutions, such as offering more flexible and scalable deployments through the cloud-based platform. The AI, machine learning and analytics capabilities supported by Azure IoT provide the carrier with better data visibility and hence enable the carrier deliver its IoT solution more efficiently. The open source and API capabilities provide Maxis a platform to expand its vertical offerings and offer better integration with customers’ existing systems. Besides, the Azure Stack and IoT Edge enable Maxis to offer low-latency applications and address the growing edge-compute demand. However, the Microsoft Azure IoT platform will not sell by itself and the partnership is not exclusive. Besides viewing this as a platform upgrade, Maxis should look at other ways to achieve differentiation in its IoT business. Continue reading “Maxis Strengthens Its IoT Portfolio with Microsoft Azure”

TM 5G Showcase Langkawi: Leading the 5G Race in Malaysia

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • The 5G race in Malaysia is heating up with various initiatives announced by service providers.
  • Telekom Malaysia (TM) edges out the competition by leveraging its existing ICT portfolio, professional service capabilities, and R&D to offer end-to-end solutions.

The 5G scene in Malaysia is heating up, as the market is only a few months away from expected commercial availability. The regulator, MCMC, recently announced that 5G will be available to users by July 2020. Since the kickoff of the 5G Demonstration Project (5GDP) by MCMC in September of last year, the telcos have been making regular announcements about their progress. These include Celcom’s partnership with the police and municipal council on a smart city deployment in Langkawi, Digi’s launch of its 5G OpenLab in Cyberjaya, Maxis’ 3 Gbps in C-band 5G trial spectrum, and TM’s collaboration with players from other verticals to co-develop 5G applications in Subang and Langkawi. While MCMC has outlined 55 use cases in 32 sites across six states for the 5GDP, Langkawi has been the center of the attention, as the service providers placed most of their resources for their 5G initiatives on the island. Continue reading “TM 5G Showcase Langkawi: Leading the 5G Race in Malaysia”

TM Collaborates with Eight Players Across Different Verticals to Develop 5G Use Cases in Langkawi

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• TM announced its 5G collaboration with eight players from different industries: government, hospitality, and retail.

• Apart from mixed reality and video, TM should also develop applications that leverage other 5G benefits (e.g., URLLC, network slicing, and edge-compute).

TM is making a major milestone in its 5G journey with its collaboration with the Majlis Perbandaran Langkawi Bandaraya Pelancongan (the city council) and Langkawi Development Authority, Jabatan Laut Malaysia (Malaysia Marine Department) as well as several other hospitality and retail players including Haji Ismail Group, Nadias Hotel, Hotel Ayda Chenang, The Loaf Asia, and Artisans Pizza. The collaborations focus on smart city and smart tourism use cases such as smart traffic light, smart parking, smart safety and security, smart retail analytics, and smart vehicle management solutions. These applications are running on the carrier’s trial standalone (SA) 5G network on 700MHz (the first SA 5G network in the country).

Continue reading “TM Collaborates with Eight Players Across Different Verticals to Develop 5G Use Cases in Langkawi”

The 5G Race Is Heating Up in Malaysia, but Commercial Availability Remains Unclear

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Malaysia is a step closer to seeing commercial 5G, with the various live trials and commercial partnerships by the regulator and telcos.
  • 5G could drive the current fixed-mobile convergence trend in the country. However, spectrum availability remains unclear and could delay the commercial availability of the technology.

The 5G Race Is Heating Up

The regulator, MCMC, has been proactive in driving 5G in Malaysia. It has created – and leads – the 5G working group, which facilitates collaborations to roll out 55 5G use cases across 32 cities, and it is looking to bring forward spectrum allocation for the technology from 2021 to the second half of 2020. Apart from the various initiatives by the regulator, the telcos are beefing up their preparations for the technology. The mobile market leader, Maxis, signed a partnership with Huawei in October to deploy 5G and co-develop use cases. Celcom is collaborating with Ericsson and UTM KL (a university in Kuala Lumpur) to launch a live trial on the university campus and drive the research and development of 5G use cases. Digi is partnering with Cyberview (a technology hub enabler) to launch 5G OpenLab to co-create 5G applications in the smart city vertical. TM, the fixed-line incumbent, announced its partnership with Huawei on 5G commercialization, and it plans to be the first telco to deploy a 5G standalone (SA) network. The telcos also recently kicked off their respective live 5G trials as part of the MCMC initiative, e.g., Celcom’s 360-degree 4K surveillance in Langkawi, Maxis’ AR experience at Aquaria KLCC, and TM 8K VR and Smart Tourism. Continue reading “The 5G Race Is Heating Up in Malaysia, but Commercial Availability Remains Unclear”

TM ONE Leap Summit 2019: Firming Up Its Position to Capture Workplace Transformation and Digital Payment Opportunities

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • TM ONE has the right products and capabilities to address the growing trend of workplace transformation.
  • Increasing digital wallet adoption in Malaysia drives the opportunity for service providers, especially with PCI-DSS compliance in data centers.

At the TM ONE Leap Summit held in Kuala Lumpur in November 2019, the Malaysian incumbent fixed-line provider shifted the conversation from product solutions to business outcomes. This is in line with its direction moving from connectivity to a solution provider. The event focuses on two digital transformation areas: the importance of workplace transformation in today’s digital era and the disruption of digital payment in fintech. Continue reading “TM ONE Leap Summit 2019: Firming Up Its Position to Capture Workplace Transformation and Digital Payment Opportunities”

AWS Adds More ASEAN Customers as the Cloud Battle in the Region Heats Up

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

• As the cloud battle in ASEAN continues, AWS has the advantage in the direct connect and go-to-market through partnerships with the domestic providers.

• The provider is also rapidly growing its customer base with various new references.

The public cloud competition in the emerging ASEAN region (excluding Singapore) is heating up. Alibaba Cloud entered the market early by opening a data center in Malaysia in October 2017 followed by another one in Indonesia in March 2018. Seeing the huge potential in the region, Google made an announcement in October 2018 to have its facility in Indonesia ready in early 2020 while AWS responded to its global rival with a similar announcement in April 2019. Despite AWS’ late move in the region (compared to Alibaba Cloud and Google), AWS has the upper hand in the direct connect or edge network as well as in the domestic go-to-market and brand share. This is achieved through its long partnerships with the domestic carriers and SIs. Continue reading “AWS Adds More ASEAN Customers as the Cloud Battle in the Region Heats Up”

The Beginning of the SD-WAN Era in Malaysia

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • TM has been offering SD-WAN since November 2018, but Maxis’ launch of its service last month marked the beginning of the real competition.
  • More carriers, integrators and resellers are expected to join the bandwagon, driven by customer demand.

SD-WAN in Malaysia

SD-WAN is not new; it has been around in the market globally for several years, offered by various providers such as carriers, system integrators and value-added resellers. The ecosystem is maturing, with a growing number of vendors and new capabilities having been developed (e.g., multi-vendor interworking, overlay-underlay integration, more virtual network services, network-cloud convergence). However, the market is only beginning to gain momentum in Malaysia. Telekom Malaysia (TM), the fixed-line incumbent provider in the country, launched the service in November last year, offering its customers two vendor options. The provider has not been aggressive in the market with its SD-WAN services due to the risk of losing its business from the legacy data services (e.g., IP VPN, Ethernet, Dedicated Internet) as well as the lack of competition. While there are smaller telcos, value-added reseller and system integrators such as RedTone, ViewQwest, Netpoleon, LNS and BreitKom in the market, its major competitor – Maxis – only launched SD-WAN last month, while Time has yet to offer the service. Continue reading “The Beginning of the SD-WAN Era in Malaysia”

TM ONE Smart Services: End-to-End IoT Solutions Tailored for Local Needs

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • TM ONE leverages its wide ICT capabilities, research and development, and local knowledge to offer IoT solutions and gain a competitive edge in the market by addressing the needs of domestic enterprises.
  • However, the applications offered are limited and there are still gaps in its platform features compared to others in the market.

IoT in Malaysia and the Main Inhibitor

IoT has become a business need rather than a good-to-have technology. With benefits such as reducing operational expenditure, the technology is implemented by enterprises across verticals as a new solution or a replacement of the existing process. In Malaysia, the IoT deployment is growing, driven by the manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 80% of the country’s total exports and 23% of the GDP. However, overall adoption is still low, mainly due to the high solution cost and intangible business case, as revealed by a recent study done by GlobalData. For example, the labour and utility costs are low in the country, making it challenging for enterprises to justify the investment needed to implement IoT solutions. An IoT solution that replaces a human role needs to cost less than the minimum annual wage in the country (US$3,100) before the enterprise can start seeing the cost benefits. In another example, a solution that offers 25% of energy reduction from street lights offers savings of only US$20 per light, per year. While the benefits are proven and promising, the total investment required for end-to-end IoT solutions (connectivity, devices, platform, security and services) is often higher than the cost benefits a solution can offer in Malaysia. Continue reading “TM ONE Smart Services: End-to-End IoT Solutions Tailored for Local Needs”