Week in Review: Telcos aiming to be the hub of our digital lives

  • TM has tender for RM700m mobile network job
  • Axiata can raise US$2.7b ‘anytime’ for M&A activities

Week in Review: Telcos aiming to be the hub of our digital livesAS I look at the stories we did this week, there is a clear telco theme. From Malaysian-based regional telco Axiata Group Bhd president and chief executive officer Jamaludin Ibrahim telling Digital News Asia (DNA), “We have the firepower to buy RM10 billion worth of companies anytime,” to Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) group chief executive officer Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa indicating its quad play ambition will become a reality “towards the end of the year.”
 
And in Singapore, we see Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) launching an Advanced Security Operations Centre to provide organisations with the latest technology, expertise and intelligence to enhance their security protection.
 
Singtel has partnered with FireEye Inc, a US-based security expert, to launch this.
 
What all this tells us is that mobile is moving ever more into becoming central to how we live our lives. And knowing this, companies like Axiata, TM and Singtel want to position themselves as the trusted exchange through which much of this traffic must pass through.
 
While Axiata sees opportunities in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in some of the Asian markets it operates in, especially Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (but not Malaysia or Indonesia), TM is a few months away from becoming a quad play force when it launches its mobile services.
 
Quad play is industry lingo to describe an operator offering voice, broadband, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and mobile services.
 
As an existing TM customer, through its UniFi fibre broadband service, I am especially keen to see what kind of bundling service it will offer its 750,000 UniFi customers to entice us to take up its mobile offering.
 
I have a feeling that unlimited data, a defining feature of the UniFi service, will be dangled in front of customers as well. But because the economics of offering unlimited data over mobile are much more demanding than over fixed broadband, this could just be a short-term offering.
 
Let’s see how aggressive TM gets with this when it launches, which it says will be towards the end of the year.
 
But first it has to issue an estimated RM700-million (US$196-million) network contract for telco vendors, to get its network harmonised to be able to offer this seamless service.
 
At DNA, with the recognition of the increasing role of mobile in our lives, from next week we are launching a personal technology channel that will cover trends and issues around the companies, products and services in this increasingly important space.
 
You can read the article by Keith Liu on why Sony will continue to struggle as a smartphone player, as an example of the type of coverage we will be introducing.
 
At the same time, we will also be starting gadget reviews, but selectively and in the DNA ‘no holds barred’ style. I dare say this will be among the few reader-friendly, not vendor-friendly, reviews you will come across. Watch out for that first review next week!
 
Before I end, congratulations are in order to the founders of Kaodim.com who raised RM2 million (US$550,000) last month.
 
Even more than the amount, I believe that this is the fastest a startup in Malaysia has raised venture funding. It took Jeffri Cheong and Choong Fui-Yu less than four months to do so! And they only quit their jobs in October 2014.
 
But the real story of Kaodim is how the founders leveraged on the mentorship and advice they received from some interesting individuals in the Malaysian ecosystem. Do have a read to find out who they are!
 
Editor’s Picks:
 
TM targets year-end to launch mobile services
 
Silicon Valley? Why the Singapore startup ecosystem rocks
 
Axiata sees consolidation opportunities, eyeing M&As
 
STEM jobs on the rise, SEA to drive growth: Freelancer.com
 
Mobile World Congress 2015: Let the show begin
 
The billion-dollar opportunity for ‘data smart’ manufacturers
 
Why Sony is not winning the smartphone war
 
 
Previous Instalments:
 
Week in Review: Does quality come through quantity?
 
Week in Review: Wisdom, delusion and the space between
 
Week in Review: One mega effort fades, another makes debut
 
Week in Review: Let’s benefit from Singapore’s strengths
 
Week in Review: Everything is interlinked
 
 
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