5G War Begins Again in Malaysia as Launch Nears

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Service providers are picking up their pace again in developing 5G capabilities.
  • Solution co-creation is key not just in building solution capabilities but also in driving brand share.

Early Pace of 5G in Malaysia

Malaysia had an early start with 5G.  The race between service providers began in mid-2019 when Celcom launched the country’s first live 5G cluster trial that enabled various use cases across multiple verticals (for more, please see Celcom Leads the 5G Race in Malaysia with 5G Live Cluster Field Trial,” July 29, 2019).  This was only a few months after the launch of the very first commercial 5G network in the world.  Not long after that, Maxis announced a partnership with Huawei to deploy 5G and develop use cases, Digi partnered with Cyberview on the 5G OpenLab to co-create 5G smart city applications, and TM shared its plan to be the first provider to offer 5G standalone (SA) network.  The government, MCMC, also played key roles in driving the technology development in the country.  It established a 5G task force in December 2018, hosted a 5G event in April 2019, collaborated with telcos and other industry players to launch 55 use cases across 32 locations (5GDP), and planned for commercial availability of the technology in the first half of 2020 (for more, please see 5G Enterprise in Malaysia: Strong Push by the Government Despite Low Market Maturity,” October 17, 2019).  It was ahead of many other countries in the region. Continue reading “5G War Begins Again in Malaysia as Launch Nears”

Should ASEAN Telcos Reassess Data Center Business?

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:            

  • Major ASEAN telcos are considering selling their data center business.
  • As the demand is shifting, telcos should consider reassessing their data center business strategy.

In the last few days, three major ASEAN telcos – PLDT, Globe, and Indosat – were reported to be mulling over their data center businesses, worth around $500 million (USD), $200 million, and $200 million, respectively.

Not a New Trend, but Has Been Happening for Years

Having telcos exit the data center market is not new: Verizon sold its 29 data centers in the America region to Equinix in 2016; Tata Communications sold 17 facilities in 2016 and its data center arm sold a 26% stake in its Singapore business in 2019; Lumen completed the sale of its data center and colocation business in 2017; AT&T sold 31 of its data centers to Brookfield in 2018; Telefonica sold off 11 data centers in 2019 and confirmed the sale of additional four facilities in 2021; PCCW sold its data center business in 2021; and Singtel has announced that it is considering selling off its infrastructure, including data centers.  However, the trend is only recently coming to the emerging ASEAN region. Continue reading “Should ASEAN Telcos Reassess Data Center Business?”

Security and Networking Consolidation Needs Concrete Examples

Summary Bullets:

S. Schuchart

• Security and networking are converging, the evidence is clear, both from a technological and strategic standpoint, with security threats increasing.

• The enterprise needs tools to manage the human aspects of security and networking convergence and the fist instrument they need is real industry examples proving the trend from vendors, ITSP, carriers, and industry analysts.

By design and necessity, the security and networking industries are moving towards consolidation. Security companies are buying networking resources and networking companies are snapping up security vendors left and right. If you address a room full of vendors from the security and networking markets and proclaim that the two markets are converging, you will get heads nodding sagely. But the reality on the ground is much more complicated. Much like a stone arch, something has to move before things begin to fall in the direction gravity is pulling them.

Continue reading “Security and Networking Consolidation Needs Concrete Examples”

Improving 5G Availability and Speeds through Mid-band Spectrum and Massive MIMO

Summary Bullets:

S. Soh

• The time is ripe for mobile operators to ramp up their 5G deployment to enhance their coverage and speeds to support new applications.

• Mobile operators with substantial mid-band spectrum and deployed massive multiple-input and multiple-output (M-MIMO) technology can deliver faster speeds and achieve service differentiation.

The deployment of 5G is well underway and people around the world are having a taste of the next-gen experience. GlobalData forecasts 5G subscriptions will reach 861 million by end of the year, doubling the figure in 2020. The availability of 5G is also rising in major cities, based on a study conducted by Ookla (Global 5G Benchmark Report Q1 – Q2 2021). The study defines availability as the percent of users on 5G-capable devices that spend the majority of their time on 5G, both roaming and on-network. Besides coverage, the availability of 5G-capable phones is a key factor in driving adoption. According to GSA, there were over 600 commercially available 5G devices in August 2021, which included mobile phones from major brands such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google, and Xiaomi. While the initial focus was in launching 5G commercial services, the race now is about increasing availability and speeds.

Continue reading “Improving 5G Availability and Speeds through Mid-band Spectrum and Massive MIMO”

AWS Showcases Its Infrastructure Design to Offer Higher Performance and Cost Savings in ASEAN

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • While AWS is expanding its ASEAN footprint, in-country regions can be important to capture high-growth domestic opportunities.
  • Its custom and modular approach offers higher performance and reliability, but also enables cost savings through better resource management.

AWS has shared with analysts its capabilities and some details of its infrastructure design, including the data centers, networking, and server equipment that make up each of its regions.

Globally, AWS has 81 availability zones across 25 regions in 19 countries, comparable with other major cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud and ahead of niche players and market challenges such as Alibaba Cloud, Tencent, Oracle, and IBM.  Each of its regions has two or more availability zones, with newer ones consisting of at least three.  Each availability zone has multiple data centers to offer high availability and performance.  This is not new and has been a common approach by some leading global hyperscalers.  AWS has also been using a modular approach for its data center (a.k.a. Amazon Perdix) for over a decade.  All the availability zones are interconnected through its own metro fiber network.  It also uses cutting-edge 6912-fiber-count cables in its network. Continue reading “AWS Showcases Its Infrastructure Design to Offer Higher Performance and Cost Savings in ASEAN”

Digitizing Power & Utilities with 5G

Alfie Amir
A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • 5G is helping the power and utility sector to better automate some of its legacy systems, infrastructure, and processes.
  • 5G will continue to play an important role in helping the utility sector transition to smart grids and drive the industry into new operating models.

The power and utility industry was always a slow adopter of technology, but an old industry is beginning to embrace new ideas as part of the digital transformation journey.  There are many changes behind the scenes.  This is driven by smart grids, access to customer data, new regulation, and dramatic changes to the global energy market, and it encompasses power generation and distribution, a myriad of new competitors (brought on, in part, by new regulation), diversification, and increased usage of alternative energy.  There are also dramatic changes among consumers.  Major consumers of energy such as data center operators are pledging carbon neutrality.  To better compete, utility companies need to transform.  Business objectives like speed to market and operational agility need to balance a strong security posture with regulatory compliance.  As a new technology, 5G has been at the forefront of helping utility companies to lower operating costs, consolidate legacy environments, and be more responsive to the emergence of new market realities. Continue reading “Digitizing Power & Utilities with 5G”

What Is Driving the Unique 5G Success in China and South Korea?

m rogers
M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

  • China and South Korea are leading the world in adoption for 5G services on the back of heavy CapEx investment to deliver rapid coverage and next-generation speeds early on from launch.
  • Adoption is also being driven by the development of value-added services and use cases for 5G technology in both consumer and enterprise segments.

China and South Korea: Leaders in 5G

5G is now here.  Around the world, operators are in the midst of their network buildouts and device vendors are pushing 5G-capable handsets, tablets, and wearables to the market.  However, two countries stand out in the speed at which consumers and enterprise have adopted 5G services.  According to GlobalData’s mobile broadband forecasts, by the end of 2020, China and South Korea outpaced the world in 5G adoption with 26% and 24% 5G subscription penetration of the population, respectively, compared to the global penetration of 5% at the end of the same period (for more, please see: Global Mobile Broadband Forecast,” June 25, 2021).  This rapid adoption of 5G is beginning to help operators in these markets grow revenue from mobile services, with overall 2021 mobile service ARPU in China and South Korea expected to rise. Continue reading “What Is Driving the Unique 5G Success in China and South Korea?”

Malaysia Enterprise Telecom Update Q2 2021: Major Cloud Developments

Alfie Amir
A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Microsoft’s move to open new data centers in Malaysia will drive cloud adoption and may attract other hyperscalers to build facilities in the country.
  • Domestic telcos are expanding their cloud capabilities through partnerships and acquisitions to address the high-growth market.

This report discusses major enterprise telecom events based on announcements from industry players in the recent quarter.  For more on the previous update, please see Malaysian Telecom Update Q1 2021 (April 29, 2021).

1. Microsoft’s Plan to Open Data Centers in Malaysia: Microsoft announced plans to strengthen its regional presence by establishing new data centers in Malaysia, adding 1 million skilled local professionals, and forming the MyDigital Alliance Leadership Council to collaborate on cloud-first and digital-native policy recommendations. Continue reading “Malaysia Enterprise Telecom Update Q2 2021: Major Cloud Developments”

700MHz Spectrum Plays a Pivotal Role in Delivering 5G Coverage

SiowMengSoh
S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

  • 700MHz spectrum is a strategic band for operators to achieve better coverage including indoor and rural areas.
  • Mobile operators around the world, particularly in China, are using 700MHz spectrum to accelerate coverage expansion.

The deployment of 5G is gathering momentum around the world.  The number of 5G subscriptions reached 414 million globally in 2020, and GlobalData expects the number to more than double in 2021.  China is leading in 5G adoption, with its number of subscriptions representing 76% of the global figure in 2020.  GlobalData expects this to be the case in 2021 as the world continues to learn about 5G through the lens of China.  Globally, many operators have been awarded mid-band spectrum, typically in the 3.5GHz range, to kick-start 5G deployment.  With additional spectrum including between 80 MHz and 100 MHz of net new spectrum, operators can deliver much faster data speeds with 5G as compared to 4G, to demonstrate the value of 5G to both consumer and business customers.  However, the propagation characteristics of 3.5GHz spectrum mean that the coverage range from the cell site is more limited than the low-band spectrum (i.e., sub-1GHz such as 700MHz).  This means mobile operators need to increase the number of cell sites to achieve the same coverage area that they would using the lower frequency band.  It is also more difficult to penetrate walls and ultimately affect the coverage indoors, which is a problem in urban areas when using the higher band. Continue reading “700MHz Spectrum Plays a Pivotal Role in Delivering 5G Coverage”

ASEAN 5G Q2 2021 Roundup: Wider Industry Collaborations Driving Enterprise 5G Ecosystem

Alfie Amir
A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Indonesian telcos have launched 5G networks, while a Malaysian provider has detailed its deployment plan from this year until 2024. In more mature markets, telcos continue to expand their coverage and enterprise capabilities through new partnerships and collaboration initiatives.
  • 5G adoption has been revised slightly upward, driven by new launches and deployment commitments and wider industry collaborations.

Key Enterprise 5G Developments

April 2021 – Singtel Launches GENIE 5G-in-a-Box to Drive 5G Solution Development in Singapore: With 5G Garage and partnerships with AWS and Azure on 5G edge computing, Singtel is taking a further step with its 5G-in-a-box solution to accelerate enterprise 5G development in the country.  The portable and modular solution enables enterprises and device manufacturers to test and experience 5G networking as well as develop new applications anywhere with the need to join Singtel in its testing facilities.  Singtel also recently announced a Melbourne-based innovation center to focus on AI, cloud, and 5G solutions as part of its new enterprise strategy.  This could benefit its telco associates in the region such as AIS, Globe, and Telkomsel in driving the ecosystem and developing new 5G solutions in their respective countries.  (For more, please see Singtel and Ericsson’s GENIE 5G-in-a-Box Will Drive 5G Solution Development in Singapore,” April 13, 2021; and Singtel’s NCS Strategy Hits the Right Notes, but Might be Looking in the Wrong Places,” May 31, 2021. Continue reading “ASEAN 5G Q2 2021 Roundup: Wider Industry Collaborations Driving Enterprise 5G Ecosystem”