Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH telco woes: DITO, Globe exchange complaints on market performance

Manila, Philippines – The Philippine telecommunications industry is facing new challenges, as telco giant Globe Telecom and new player DITO have exchanged public statements regarding their business operations and performance.

It first started with DITO, who filed two complaints at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against Globe Telecom and Smart Communications for their competitive business behaviour, more specifically during their interconnection agreement.

Said interconnection agreements allow DITO users to send texts and make calls to users of PLDT’s Smart and Globe.

“It has become very difficult for our subscribers to interconnect with Globe and Smart,” said Adel Tamano, chief administrative officer at DITO through CNN Philippines.

Meanwhile, the PCC has acknowledged DITO’s complaints, stating that interconnection is an essential component of the telecommunications industry as it allows interoperability and exchange of calls, SMS, and other information from one network to another.

Johannes R. Bernabe, the OIC chairperson at the Philippine Competition Commission, said, “Our Competition Enforcement Office (CEO) is now evaluating the merits of Dito’s complaints. The Commission has 10 days within which to decide whether or not to give due course to the complaint. If given due course, our CEO will proceed to investigate the charges and if it subsequently finds sufficient basis, file with the Commission en banc a Statement of Objections against the allegedly erring entities.”

In response, Globe Telecom has released a statement, asking the country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to require DITO to pay up to PHP622m in interconnection penalties.

According to Globe’s statement, around 1,000 fraudulent calls– identified as international in origin but masked as local calls– are allowed to pass through DITO’s network to Globe users every day, a clear violation of interconnection deals.

“Clearly, DITO has not only failed to compensate Globe, but it also has not taken any serious actions to curtail bypass activities emanating from its network and terminating in Globe’s. Indeed, these bypass activities have not waned but have in fact continuously increased over the said period. DITO’s twin failures to check these bypass activities and pay Globe what it is justly due have worked on a continuing serious prejudice against Globe,” the telco said.

Globe and DITO have signed an interconnection agreement in February 2021 which covers domestic mobile calls and SMS enabling Globe’s customers to make mobile calls, send SMS with DITO Telecommunity’s customers without additional charges.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel’s National Day ad shows the hand of the telecom in mounting parade through early days

Singapore – To honour Singapore’s National Day, which is celebrated every 9 August, the telco Singtel has launched a new campaign that illustrates how its telecoms infrastructure and engineering expertise have been vital to the staging of the National Day Parade since the 1960s, through the early days of 3G to a fully 5G nation today.

Titled ‘The Making of a 5G Nation’, the film tells the story of Singtel’s planners and engineers for whom wiring up the Marina Bay floating platform with 5G is a mission they are immensely proud to undertake.

Mark Chong, Singtel’s group chief technology officer, shared that when thousands of people want to live stream and send videos at the same time, from multiple 5G-enabled devices that are concurrently streaming over global online mediums, great demands are placed on their network which will be seriously tested in terms of its power and reliability.

“From our experience supporting this event through the years, and our 5G trials in Sentosa, we’ve picked up important lessons on managing complex technology for an even more memorable experience. It is our privilege to support the Parade every year and we’re excited to bring 5G to everyone this year to commemorate Singapore’s birthday,” said Chong

Meanwhile, Lian Pek, Singtel’s vice president of strategic communications and brand, noted that this is the first time they’ve thrown the spotlight on their planners and engineers, the unsung heroes who work quietly behind the scenes, year after year, to pull off one of the most anticipated events in the national calendar.

“This year’s NDP is particularly special for us as a company as we’ve reached nationwide 5G coverage 3 years ahead of time, effectively making Singapore the first country in the world to be fully covered by standalone 5G. The significance of this milestone, and a 5G-enabled live Parade, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, calls for a celebration with fellow Singaporeans. This is the leap in technology that will help carry Singapore forward as it moves on from the pandemic,” said Pek.

Singtel said that preparations for this year’s National Day Parade started as early as a year ago, with its teams working to enhance capacity and optimise and test 5G mobile coverage to ensure spectators at the event are well supported.

The campaign will be airing on Singtel TV and various social media channels.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Telekom Malaysia takes after tech giants, unveils new insights hub

Malaysia – Malaysian telecom company Telekom Malaysia is making an interesting stride in content marketing with its newest insights hub – its Official TM Blog. The content destination will be providing direct access to thoughts and insights from the group’s top leaders and subject matter experts in the telco and technology sector.

Following the footsteps of some of the world’s biggest tech firms, the blog intends to become a one-stop information centre for key decision-makers, analysts as well as the media, allowing them to get the latest industry happenings, new ideas, analyses as well as trends in digital technologies and transformation, sustainability, organisational culture and various other exciting topics.

Written to engage and inspire an informed global audience, the articles are clustered into four segments namely Ideas, Trends, Achievements, and Insights.

The Official TM Blog is updated monthly, and is accessible from the main page of its corporate website.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Telco HKBN names William Ho as new CEO of Enterprise Solutions arm

Hong Kong – Hong Kong-based telecommunications and technology services provider, HKBN Group, has appointed William Ho, former managing director at AI networking company Juniper Networks, to be the new CEO of Enterprise Solutions.

In his new role, Ho will be leading HKBN’s enterprise services arm, expanding and leveraging its system integration capabilities, and further consolidating and developing the blue ocean business growth strategy across Hong Kong and Mainland China.

With nearly 30 years of professional experience in the ICT industry, Ho brings many holistic dimensions having been a customer-side user and a service provider, covering network technology, internet, cloud, and big data, as well as e-commerce, amongst others. He is amongst the few senior executives with a broad range of experiences in technology R&D, sales and marketing, and business development. Aside from his previous role at Juniper Networks, Ho has also held senior executive positions at local and international companies, including Cohesity, ARRIS, Cisco, and Hong Kong Jockey Club, amongst others.

Commenting on his appointment, Ho said, “In a dynamic evolving business landscape, HKBN’s Talent-Obsession culture uniquely empowers our talents to embrace changes and do everything to help our enterprise customers to foster their digital transformation and gain their competitive edge rather than merely save money. I am thrilled to have my skin in the game as a co-owner and to achieve our goals together with our Elite Sports Team.”

Meanwhile, William Yeung and NiQ Lai, HKBN’s co-owners, said that Ho is putting his skin in the game by investing an amount equivalent to 2 years’ salary into their co-ownership scheme. 

“With William leading HKBN Enterprise Solutions, our goal is to bring digital solutions that go beyond connectivity services to our 110K corporate customers, fortifying our customer relationship, driving efficiency and business impact in Hong Kong and across mainland China, especially the Greater Bay Area. We welcome William to our Elite Sports Team,” they added.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Loyalty platform SoPa acquires SG-based MVNO Gorilla Networks

Singapore – Society Pass (SoPa), the data-driven loyalty and e-commerce ecosystem in SEA, has acquired Singapore-based Gorilla Networks (Gorilla), a next-generation Web3-enabled MVNO.

Established in Singapore in 2019, Gorilla utilises Web3 technology to operate an MVNO for its users in Southeast Asia. With network coverage to over 160 countries, Gorilla offers a full suite of mobile communication services such as local calls, international roaming, data, and SMS texting. Moreover, Gorilla enables its customers to convert unused mobile data into digital assets or Gorilla GO Tokens through its proprietary blockchain-based SwitchBack feature. 

Dennis Nguyen, SoPa founder, chairman and CEO, explained, “We are excited to make our first acquisition in Singapore, and welcome Gorilla into our SoPa family. Gorilla’s technology platform aligns well with our acquisition strategy as we incorporate Gorilla’s blockchain and Web3 capabilities onto the SoPa ecosystem and enable the new meta-economy for all our portfolio companies.” 

“From our Leflair lifestyle e-commerce platform to our Pushkart/Handycart F&B delivery services, as we roll out the Society Pass loyalty platform in the coming months, we leverage Gorilla’s technology to drive customer retention for merchants and create innovative revenue models for our ecosystem,” added Nguyen.

With the rebound of the travel market throughout Southeast Asia, Gorilla expects to dramatically increase its customer base by marketing to the region’s business and leisure travellers with its user-friendly technology platform. It plans to expand its MVNO services offering to Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia over the next 12 months.

“When we started Gorilla Networks three years ago, our vision was to build a democratised mobile communications service platform where users regardless of nationality, home location or mobile subscription plans can access essential telecoms services such as roaming and mobile data anywhere and everywhere throughout the world. Gorilla is currently transitioning existing web 2 telco services onto the web3 economy by tokenising mobile data as digital assets,” said Xanne Leo, founder and CEO of Gorilla Networks.

“In 2021, we digitised eSIMS, data plans, and mobile numbers as NFTs, which dramatically transformed how our users purchase, interact and experience mobile services. By joining forces with SoPa’s extensive ecosystem and large user base in Southeast Asia, we are thrilled about the combined marketing capabilities we will now bring collectively to our partners and customers,” added Xanne Leo. 

For our Empowered Women Series last March, we sat down with the women leaders of SoPa – PH Country Manager Abie Pagdanganan and CEO Pamela Aw-Young. 

Pagdanganan shared about the platform’s goals, “So our business on the consumer-facing side, we aim to integrate everything that you need into just one ecosystem. This is where consumers can easily search books or order anything they want or need, through our values interconnected that works.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Sun Postpaid to be rebranded as Smart Postpaid

Manila, Philippines – The postpaid service of local telco Sun Cellular is rebranding to Smart Postpaid, the postpaid offering of telco Smart. This officially comes into effect by April 25.

It should be recalled that Sun has been integrated in Smart’s mobile network infrastructure and corporate management since 2016. In 2020, Sun’s corporate logo featured a subline saying ‘Powered by Smart’, and its prepaid offering was previously rebranded to Smart Prepaid as well in the same year.

In line with the rebranding, all Sun Postpaid or Sun Broadband packages and products will no longer be available.

In addition, a user’s Sun Postpaid number will become a Smart Postpaid number. The telco assures that the user will still be able to use their existing SIM and plan inclusions. Meanwhile, for postpaid needs, Smart encourages new customers to avail of Smart Signature plans and get access to all the great features and benefits of being a Smart Postpaid subscriber.

“All consumer Sun Postpaid, Sun Broadband and Sun FLP subscribers will become Smart Postpaid on April 25, 2022 and will be able to enjoy the full range of available services from Smart Postpaid. This will only cover all the active and individual Sun Postpaid accounts. Sun Postpaid Corporate account users will not yet be covered in this activity,” Smart said in an online statement.

Sun Cellular was previously under Digitel Mobile Philippines, which was then acquired by PLDT in 2011.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH telco giant Smart launches GIGA Arena with ML exhibition match

Manila, Philippines – To celebrate the launch of Smart GIGA Arena, an online arcade and esports tournament platform, the Philippine-based telco hosted an exhibition match last 9 March 2022, which features some of the best Filipino esports players and content creators of mobile game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (ML).

During the exhibition match, the pro esports team Smart Omega took on the Smart Dream Team, which was led by cosplayer and gamer Alodia Gosiengfiao, as well as included streamers and content creators Dexie Diaz, Ghostwrecker, Nix, and Pabbie Gaming.

After tying the match at one game apiece, the pros followed that up by proving their mettle and professional pedigree in the third game. It was a competitive bout that lasted almost 20 minutes, and Omega took it to the Dream Team’s base again.

On top of the amazingly competitive three games between Smart Omega and the Dream Team, some lucky viewers of the stream also came away with special Mobile Legends skins just by watching and registering to Smart GIGA Arena.

The telco said, “Smart subscribers who are also gamers and esports enthusiasts can enjoy the same kind of intense and exciting Mobile Legends action, as well as more of their favourite mobile games, on Smart’s GIGA Arena platform.”

On Smart GIGA Arena, subscribers can link up with their friends and play in tournaments to rank up and win cash prizes. They can also play arcade games, buy diamonds and other in-game currency, and watch footage and streams of events on the platform.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PLDT taps Medallia, Kantar to support telco’s CX implementation

Philippines – PLDT, one of the largest telcos in the country, alongside its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, have announced its partnership with global customer experience and employee platform Medallia.

Through the CX implementation Medallia will be supported by global media company Kantar in implementing the technology solution across PLDT and Smart. Medallia and Kantar joined the PLDT team for a digital signing ceremony to officially seal the deal. Furthermore, with support from Medallia and Kantar, PLDT and Smart aims to optimise customer experience management across all channels, including digital platforms, mobile phone applications, and contact centres. 

Alfredo S. Panlilio, president and CEO of PLDT and Smart, said, “A large part of our commitment to provide world-class connectivity for all Filipinos is to empower our people and processes with technology that allows them to render the best customer experience.”

He added, “Our engagement with Medallia and Kantar gives us this technology, and empowers us to listen and respond to our customers more effectively, as they are our North Star for all group-wide efforts,.”

Meanwhile, Leslie Stretch, president and CEO of Medallia, commented, “To thrive in the highly competitive world of telecommunications, providers must delight customers and employees by responding to their needs with the same speed, interactivity, and connectivity that they expect from your network.”

“Medallia helps amplify the voice of customers across all touchpoints, enabling PLDT and Smart to listen and act on feedback in a consistent, deliberate, and thoughtful manner. We look forward to working with PLDT and Smart to delight customers with world-class experiences,” Stretch added.

He added, “Medallia continues to expand across the telecommunications industry in APAC and currently works with customers in key markets including Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia, to help optimise their customer experience.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

MY telco U Mobile taps GrowthOps for revamped digital CX platform

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local telco provider U Mobile has tapped marketing and technology solutions provider GrowthOps for its refreshed website and customer experience delivery platform, U.COM.MY. The partnership between the two companies started development for this project eight months ago.

The new and enhanced platform is powered by Adobe Experience Cloud and hosted on Amazon Web Services, enabling the telco to have greater autonomy and agility in managing content, as well as access to deeper and more comprehensive user analytics.

Through the improvements, U.COM.MY now offers an enhanced, trilingual customer experience through personalised content delivery, which enables the telco to achieve their overarching goal to better service their customers on digital channels.

Boon Keong, head of consulting at GrowthOps, said, “Today, marketers are being tasked with how to create an engaging experience with their customers through seamless design and analytics-driven content personalisation. In this instance, we have been able to help U Mobile to take their digital transformation journey [directly] to their customers.”

Meanwhile, Jasmine Lee, chief digital officer at U Mobile, commented that they believe that the refreshed U.COM.MY will equip them with more insights that will enable them to make more data-led decisions resulting in new digital experiences that benefit their customers.

“U Mobile is always looking at new ways to realise unlimited potential, hence, we are delighted to have partnered with GrowthOps to create and launch an enhanced U.COM.MY. Through this initiative, GrowthOps have shown to have the right capabilities to take our platform to the next level,” Lee said.

Marketing Featured South Asia

SLT-MOBITEL rebrands cloud storage solution as ‘Eazy Storage’

Sri Lanka – SLT Mobitel, leading mobile service provider in Sri Lanka, has rebranded and upgraded its current cloud storage service, SLT Storage, to now be called ‘Eazy Storage’. The telco said the enhanced service is in response to the immense potential in the cloud space, and will be offering customers the ultimate cloud solution with a robust and cutting-edge user interface for cloud applications.

SLT Mobitel offers mobile telephony, broadband services, and roaming and idd services, among others. Its cloud storage, file sync, and sharing solution, Eazy Storage, will have no additional broadband costs. Customers have instant access to all data including all files, photos, messages, contacts, and documents in any format to work and share with others, with real-time collaboration from any device, anywhere.

The telco assures all files are secure with powerful on-server and end-to-end encryption. In addition, the solution is hosted inside SLT-MOBITEL’s state-of-the-art data centers.

Eazy Storage packages range from 5GB to 1000 GB and based on customer requests, 1TB can be offered. With prepaid and postpaid options, rates are priced from Rs 50 to Rs. 4675.

SLT Mobitel shared that it will be unveiling new features in the future, including a family sharing option to be launched soon.