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”

An Intriguing Networking Choice: Passive Optical LAN (POL)

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• With growing bandwidth needs due to things like Wi-Fi 6 and video, options like POL can provide long-term investment protection benefits

• POL can reduce operating expenses, both administratively and from a power/cooling standpoint

The networking journey is always one of change, yet there are some technologies that we’ve used for literally decades that are not up to the challenges of growing bandwidth and device density. Indeed, new services such as Wi-Fi 6 are driving the need for more bandwidth, especially on the backhaul. Copper Ethernet cables are a great example of where a great technology is beginning to run into the harsh limits of physics. To achieve even 10 Gigabit speeds excessive care has to be taken with thick, less flexible cables and distance limits of 100 meters for properly installed cabling systems (Cat6a or Cat7). With bandwidth rising to 40Gbps and 100Gbps and beyond, it becomes a matter of much discussion on how we support networks going forward, especially in new construction. Nobody wants the expense of upgrading a building’s network cabling because bandwidth needs have exceeded its limited capacity.

Continue reading “An Intriguing Networking Choice: Passive Optical LAN (POL)”

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”

Edge Computing Will Underpin Long-Term Digital Transformation Strategies

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Edge computing can enable a wide range of technologies as part of a digital transformation program.
  • Edge computing supports low-latency services and offers new ‘branch in a box’ capabilities.

AT&T’s 2019 Business Summit had a big focus on edge computing. AT&T offers a convincing vision with use cases for both its multi-access edge compute (MEC) and network edge compute (NEC) platforms. However, the questions from the enterprises present at the event suggested that many are uncertain about what edge computing means and what it may offer their businesses. This is unsurprising, as the majority of service providers are still developing their own models for deploying edge compute capabilities, let alone offering fully formed go-to-market models. Continue reading “Edge Computing Will Underpin Long-Term Digital Transformation Strategies”

Alibaba Cloud Adds an Application PaaS Solution via the Terminus Acquisition

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

  • The acquisition of Terminus has given Alibaba Cloud an attractive application PaaS solution that it can take to market and help to boost cloud adoption in China.
  • The Terminus PaaS is evolving and it has a strong roadmap; the multi-cloud approach is a crucial factor when Alibaba Cloud extends the solution internationally.

Terminus and Its Application PaaS

Terminus is a Chinese software provider founded in 2012 with a strong focus on addressing the needs of retail, procurement, and the supply chain functions. The company was acquired by Alibaba, and its products are now offered based on Alibaba Cloud while retaining the Terminus product brand. The Terminus team remains intact and is driving product development, but tapping into Alibaba’s ecosystem, go-to-market machinery, and its infrastructure and technologies to accelerate business expansion. Continue reading “Alibaba Cloud Adds an Application PaaS Solution via the Terminus Acquisition”

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”

At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Starting on September 1, 2019, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 users directly into Microsoft Teams, in essence removing the option for customers to run both Teams and the soon-to-be-retired Skype for Business Online.
  • Though somewhat extreme, this migration plan has been coming on for some time now, frankly ever since Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017.

Via blog post earlier this week, Microsoft made the wholly unsurprising announcement that it would officially retire its long-term messaging solution, Skype for Business Online, on July 31st, 2021. Unlike many similar migration plans, where rival products can linger for years after closure, Microsoft does not intend to let Skype for Business Online slowly fade away. Continue reading “At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online”

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”

Telecom Assets for Sale, Telecom Assets for Sale

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

• Telecom operators need cash. FTTP, 5G and multi-play is expensive. Voice/data is not able to pay the bills. Operators are offloading assets that are no longer seen as core to their business.

• REITs and private equity firms are buying infrastructure for sale, like data centers and now complete companies managing them as another utility for better returns.

Increasingly, telecommunications operators are facing pricing pressure resulting in limited revenue growth from fixed and mobile services. Meanwhile, they need to invest in faster access such as fiber and 5G (equipment and spectrum), which will require more capital. Some telecom operators are also looking at growth outside of the traditional voice and data services and they are building capabilities to offer IoT, enterprise services and entertainment services for consumers. These new areas require different types of investments including platforms, applications, and content. While shareholders want to see new revenue streams and growth, they also expect stable returns (e.g., dividends and share buyback) from these businesses and a healthy balance sheet. This makes it more challenging for telecom companies to raise capital to fund their growth ambitions without carrying too much debt. Continue reading “Telecom Assets for Sale, Telecom Assets for Sale”