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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel’s ad for the Olympics bares athletes’ journey in socially-constrained new normal

Singapore – Singapore’s telecommunications Singtel has released a new ad that illustrates both heritage and personal triumph as it pays tribute to the realization of the Tokyo Olympics, which had to be postponed for a year in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The film features the country’s national players for the Olympics; swimmer Joseph Schooling, shuttler Loh Kean Yew, fencer Kiria Tikanah, and sprinter Shanti Pereira, and how each dealt with the frustration and disappointment of having to come to terms with the Olympics’ cancelation after expectations had been up and training and preparations have been well placed. 

Adding to this, the ad also portrayed how beyond the Olympics, athletes, whether bound for the global competition or not and even those that have sports as a passion or as a source of living, had to struggle with the lockdown, being forced to give up physical activity to obey social distancing.

“I can’t believe it’s been postponed. I’ve trained so hard,” “I can’t go to the court. I can’t do my training,” the players would mutter with scenes where gloom and loneliness loom in a silenced living room or a shut oval. 

The ad portrays, most of all, the value of hope and resilience, still ending on a positive note, where players’ patience and ongoing training for their sports now finally rewarded as the Tokyo Olympics officially resumes. 

The featured players would be sending across inspirational messages such as how a winner never gives up, how failure only becomes such when one stops trying, and how true triumph is dealing straight on with adversity.

“Our athletes’ journey to the Olympics has been nothing short of inspiring. Making it to the games in any given year would be a coup but making it under the current circumstances takes a lot of grit and determination,” commented Aileen Tan, Singtel’s group chief people and sustainability officer. 

The new ad ‘Leading Through Uncertainty’ is part of Singtel’s ongoing branded content campaign, built around stories that reflect the Singtel Group’s values of community, family, diversity, and inclusivity. Last year’s festive film campaign also paid tribute to the Singapore spirit of tenacity and perseverance against the backdrop of the health crisis.

Alongside its tribute to the Olympics, the film is also in celebration of the country’s National Day, remembered every 9 August.

Tan said, “As we mark our second National Day under the cloud of COVID, the film is a way of celebrating the Singapore spirit of resilience that has brought us this far. Like our athletes, we’ve all been fighting the good fight, keeping our spirits up, and moving forward in spite of COVID. Yes, the journey has been fraught with uncertainty, false starts, and U-turns, but we hope the film will inspire us all to press on and keep trying.”

The film, which was conceptualized by the Singtel Brand team, has now been launched across the telecom’s YouTube and Facebook. It will also be airing on Singtel TV from 21 July 2021.

Singtel has been a long-time supporter of Team Singapore, having donated S$2.5m to the Singapore National Olympic Council to help fund the training of athletes since 2012. 

For this year’s global sports event, Singtel customers will be able to catch a broadcast by tuning in to all 14 Mediacorp channels for free on Singtel TV CH 21-34 and Singtel TV GO. It will also be available on Singtel CAST to all consumers, including non-Singtel customers.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021, where 23 players are slated to represent Singapore.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Telco startup Gorilla launches in SG as first-ever service-on-demand model

Singapore – In a bid to launch a new mobile communication experience for the professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) sector, telco startup Gorilla has recently launched in Singapore to feature the first-ever service-on-demand model for a telco in the country. and first.

The said model provides access to a full suite of services, anytime–without a contract, subscription fees or activation charges. Users pay only for what they use, when they use it, ensuring a fair and modular way of using and paying for mobile services.

Complementing Gorilla’s model of fairness and user-centricity is its proprietary SwitchBack technology, powered by blockchain. Gorilla’s SwitchBack enables users to fully ‘switch back’ unused mobile data to offset their bills, purchase or exchange for other in-app services, or simply share it with their co-workers and team members. 

Unlike other telcos, there is no expiry for unused data. This sets Gorilla Mobile apart from its peers and further demonstrates its commitment to fair mobile solutions, designed with users in mind.

Customers can sign up for Gorilla Mobile’s Switch25 Mobile plan through the Gorilla Mobile website. In the coming months, the company will be unveiling new services including a global roaming travel data SIM card, digital international direct dialing (IDD) and global office telephony solutions.

In addition, Gorilla Mobile has rolled out the #RethinkMobile pre-launch campaign on its website – calling on Singaporeans to look at their mobile phone bills and examine their mobile package subscription and actual usage: what they are paying for versus what they actually use.

The Switch25 Mobile plan costs S$25 and is available to all Singapore registered companies, Singaporeans, permanent residents, EPass, EntrePass, and SPass holders aged 21 and above. From 18 June to 18 August, new customers, both individuals, and businesses, are entitled to a Bill Difference Reward of up to S$50 per mobile number, credited directly to their PayNow account upon successful port-in.

Gorilla Mobile will lean on local telco M1 as its host mobile network operator, leveraging its wide network coverage, and local telco MyRepublic‘s enterprise operating support system and business support system (OSS/BSS) telecommunications solution and managed services.

Xanne Leo, founder and CEO at Gorilla, notes that with their service-on-demand model, they have digitized their services, moving beyond customized or flexible subscriptions. They believe users should have easy access to mobile services anytime, anywhere, and pay only for the services they use. 

“Our SwitchBack feature can be compared to the Singapore Parking app. Users pay only for their parking duration and get refunded for their unused time. Through SwitchBack, unused data never goes to waste. Its value gets reallocated to offset, purchase or exchange for other Gorilla services,” she stated.

Leo also shared the sentiment of many companies who are once again turning to work-from-home arrangements under the recent tightened COVID-19 measures. She added that the current workforce, now relying on their home Wi-Fi most of the day, has large amounts of unused mobile data each month. 

“Gorilla Mobile’s suite of services, especially our local plan, are developed with the needs of Singapore’s working professionals at heart. We are committed to providing fair mobile solutions to ensure our customers enjoy the benefits at maximum value. While many of our peers offer customised and flexible plans, which predict or assume a customer’s monthly usage, we charge them solely on their actual use,” Xanne added.

She further explained, “As we are still in our pre-launch phase, gradually bringing our full services to the market, we welcome users to try our service and share their valuable feedback with us as we strengthen our offerings and roll out more services to better cater to their needs.”

To empower its service, Gorilla has secured US$3m of seed capital and is set to raise US$5m in its upcoming Series A funding. The funds will be used to develop its product roadmap and for market expansion across Southeast Asia, with initial rollouts in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The company will enter Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in the longer-term.

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SME Featured APAC

Axiata’s B2B unit ties up Google Cloud for new bundle for SMBs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Axiata Enterprise, the business-to-business (B2B) arm of Malaysia-based telecommunications group Axiata, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud in order to help accelerate digital adoption across companies and small-medium businesses (SMBs) across Asia.

The implementation will come in the form of offering Google Workspace as part of their integrated ICT portfolio and solution bundles to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Telecoms across Axiata’s group will spearhead the implementation, with Dialog in Sri Lanka leading the initiative, and with implementation scheduled for Q2 this year.

This will be followed by Celcom in Malaysia, XL in Indonesia, Robi in Bangladesh, Ncell in Nepal, and Smart in Cambodia by the second half of the year.

Axiata’s digital telcos will also continue to leverage Google Cloud’s core compute, storage, and networking capabilities to modernize their infrastructure and drive their digital transformation initiatives. 

Said initiative comes in retrospect to the fact that Asia is home to over one million SMBs all looking for the best possible way to tap the immense opportunities in some of the world’s fastest growing Internet economies. Axiata’s controlling interests in six mobile operators cover over 157 million mobile subscribers across its footprint. 

“Axiata and Google Cloud have a shared vision of helping businesses digitize and grow as they build greater resilience for the long haul. With nations increasingly stepping up on digitalization for economic recovery and growth, we stand at a critical juncture to support businesses, especially small and medium players in their efforts to adjust and adapt to new digital norms for survival,” said Gopi Kurup, CEO at Axiata Enterprise.

He also added that the power of Google Cloud’s advanced technologies combined with Axiata’s market intelligence enables companies to access advanced tools to boost their collaboration and productivity and generate data-based insights to strengthen their evolving customer engagement strategies.

Celcom, which is under the Axiata Group, is leveraging Google Cloud’s infrastructure and solutions as well to run its payment gateway and advance its modern digital customer journey. The Malaysian telco also has plans to use Google Cloud’s AI tools to build personalization and recommendation models to further enhance customer experience. 

Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director of Google Cloud in Southeast Asia, said, “To resource-strapped SMBs, cloud technology is a game-changer that enables them to compete with larger players in the market. We’re thrilled to partner with Axiata to accelerate the digital transformation of millions of companies in the region, and help them solve their complex business and technology challenges.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s Globe reveals firm is eyeing new business

Manila, Philippines – Telco giant in the Philippines Globe has announced in a press release that it is looking to scout new businesses to build additional streams of revenue.

Even amid successful vaccination programs around the world, nations continue to grapple with the pandemic, and the Philippines, the home of Globe, is currently seeing a new surge in positive cases. 

Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu said in a virtual interview in the APOS media conference, that it is important for the telco to explore other sources of income especially in light of the current situation.

“We are very fortunate that we continue to see revenue growth and are able to sustain growth over the past 10 years. But we also know that it’s going to be difficult to keep it up in the future,” said Cu.

The Coronavirus crisis has affected both global and local telecommunication revenues due to lack of international travel and lower handset upgrades caused by the closure of retail stores, challenges in the corporate industry, and SME markets, as well as spending pressures among the prepaid segment. 

Cu cited Globe’s recent success story with its e-wallet GCash, successfully growing to become the largest e-wallet in the Philippines. According to Globe, it has grown its client base to over 33 million last year or about 65% higher compared to the 20 million users in 2019 due to a shift in consumer behavior amid strict mobility and quarantine restrictions. GCash is one of the portfolio companies under 917Ventures the telco’s fully-owned subsidiary, which deems to be one of the largest corporate venture builders in the country.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

StarHub to launch first-ever cloud gaming service in SEA region

Singapore – Singapore telco StarHub has announced today that it will soon be launching the first-ever ‘GeForce NOW’ in SEA, a cloud gaming service by computer systems services brand NVIDIA.

The ‘GeForce NOW Powered by StarHub’ aims to offer new gaming experiences to its customers, allowing them to play their favorite games on nearly every device and gain access to a vast library of over 800 game titles, without the need for huge storage space or gaming hardware.

The new cloud gaming service will launch in Singapore in the third quarter of 2021, and in preparation for the commercial launch, StarHub is currently deploying NVIDIA’s RTX servers in its data centers.

“This is a game-changing move, harnessing the power of 5G and the cloud for customers to enjoy unrivaled connectivity and entertainment,” StarHub said.

StarHub’s Chief of Consumer Business Group, Johan Buse, shared that they are eager to enable the customers to play without the hassle of hefty downloads and equipment upgrades and to truly have fun without limitations. 

“Our vision is to be the powerhouse of gaming for customers. What we want to offer is not just a new platform for gamers, but an entire ecosystem for our gaming customers to live out their fullest gaming potential, bringing them together to co-create an all-new experience that is meaningful, unique, and unmatched, only with StarHub,” said Buse.

Meanwhile, Phil Eisler, the vice president and general manager of GeForce NOW cloud gaming at NVIDIA, commented, “StarHub is a welcome addition to the GeForce NOW Alliance as our first deployment in Southeast Asia. StarHub’s world-class 5G network is the perfect platform to stream GeForce NOW to millions of gamers in Singapore.”

Customers can now register at www.starhub.com/geforcenow to be the first to receive updates about ‘GeForce NOW Powered by StarHub’. More information about pricing and availability will be announced closer to launch.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Smart partners with Eplayment Entertainment for Liga Adarna Season 3

Manila, Philippines – Philippine telco Smart Communications (Smart) has partnered anew with event and tournament organizer Eplayment Entertainment, to launch the third season of Liga Adarna, the country’s biggest all-female esports league.

The Liga Adarna Season 3 has already kicked off last 8 April and will be running until 7 June 2021, with the theme ‘Women Rising’. The event aims to showcase the prowess of the country’s top female esports players in four different games, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Valorant, and Call of Duty: Mobile, as well as League of Legends: Wild Rift. 

Furthermore, the event is also in line with Smart’s long standing support for the fast-growing Philippine esports scene to cultivate the passion, skill, and talent of Filipino gamers. The winners of Liga Adarna Season 3 will enjoy a total prize pool of ₱215K.

The Liga Adarna will stream the matches live on its Facebook page.

Last 24 November 2020 to 17 January 2021, the second season of Liga Adarna was launched. Smart and Eplayment Entertainment have partnered with non-governmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Philippines for the season’s ‘Now Loading: Gamers for Nature’ campaign, which aims to raise funds for the organization’s environmental education initiatives.

Most recently, the telco has also partnered with game developer Moonton for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) Season 7, which is the largest mobile esports league in the Philippines. The event has seen 10 of the country’s top Mobile Legends esports teams compete.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ID’s telco Telkomsel rolls out third edition of Dunia Games League

Jakarta, Indonesia – To further strengthen the esports ecosystem in Indonesia, telecommunication company Telkomsel has launched the third edition of its national-level event Dunia Games League (DGL) this year. 

Following the previously successful editions of DGL, which attracted tens of thousands of gamers that participated, and captured millions of esports enthusiasts that streamed the event, this year’s event aims to reach more players and fans throughout the country.

The DGL 2021 will be bringing together PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile game enthusiasts from all over Indonesia, and will target thousands of professional and amateur teams to participate. 

Online registration will be from 16 April to 31 May. All participants will compete in the Qualifier and Play-Ins round between 5 June to 11 July, and thereafter, the best players will compete in the Grand Finals on 17 to 18 July for a total prize of more than US$40K. 

“Telkomsel, through Dunia Games, strives to create more opportunities for Indonesian online game enthusiasts to sharpen their skills and competitiveness. The return of DGL is one of the manifestations of our passion to enable gamers to share their interests, connect, and collaborate for a more holistic esports ecosystem in Indonesia,” said Rachel Goh, the marketing director of Telkomsel.

Meanwhile, Oliver Ye, the director of PUBG Mobile SEA, commented “We are proud to have PUBG Mobile in DGL these 2 years in a row with Telkomsel as the biggest telco operator in Indonesia. We were also happy to announce that the top 2 of DGL 2021 will be invited to our PUBG Mobile Indonesia National Championship 2021 Grand Final.” 

The whole event will be broadcasted live through the Dunia Games YouTube channel, MAXstream apps, and Dunia Games League website.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

ABS-CBN Global enters partnership with HK telco SmarTone

Manila, Philippines – The international unit of PH media network giant ABS CBN, international Filipino entertainment content producer and distributor ABS-CBN Global, has partnered with Hong Kong-based telecommunications provider SmarTone to provide quality service to Filipinos in the territory, which they announced through a virtual contract signing ceremony.

Through the partnership, the content library of ABS-CBN’s dedicated channel for overseas Filipino viewers, The Filipino Channel (TFC) will be made available to SmarTone. This also marks another milestone in ABS-CBN Global’s innovation and technology agenda as it furthers its undertaking to connect more than 200,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong to their families back home, especially with the ongoing pandemic, through easy and affordable access to information and entertainment through SmarTone.

“ABS-CBN Global remains steadfast in its commitment to serve the Filipino worldwide. It continues to be part of the OFW journey by staying as a market leader in international distribution of Filipino news and entertainment for over 25 years, consistently offering compelling content, innovative products, world-class event experiences, and strategic philanthropic outreach,” said Maribel Hernaez, managing director for Asia Pacific at ABS-CBN Global.

Meanwhile, Josephine Lam, head of marketing & sales for SmarTone, commented that their pursuit in strengthening market dominance will always be prevalent in addition to being the leading brand of prepaid SIM cards among overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong. 

“We are going to be the exclusive mobile network partners of iWantTFC in Hong Kong. Soon viewers can enjoy the greatest shows and TV dramas anytime, anywhere under SmarTone’s fast, stable and smooth network,” Lam stated.

Present in the virtual contract signing ceremony as well is Aldrin Cerrado, chief operating officer at ABS-CBN Global who stated, “In just a few years, we were able to progress with our alliance, this time to bring the home of Filipino stories via iWantTFC to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in Hong Kong, made possible by SmarTone’s reliable payment solution.”

He added, “When partners speak the same language, they help each other continue to excel at what each does best. SmarTone and ABS-CBN Global speak the same language in this partnership, and that is the language of true service.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PLDT taps Qualtrics for unified CX redesign

Manila, Philippines – PLDT Global Corp. (PGC), the international arm of Philippine-based telecommunications company PLDT, has announced that it has partnered experience management (XM) company Qualtrics to redesign its customer experience (CX).

PGC will be utilizing and standardizing the use of Qualtrics’ CustomerXM program in order to better understand and act on customers’ unique needs. Qualtrics will provide PGC with a single platform to capture, analyze, and act on experience data, enabling PGC to uncover deeper customer insights, scale and personalize engagements, and automate workflows to resolve or escalate customer issues in real time.

Furthermore, CustomerXM integrates with PGC’s existing CRM platform to deliver further value. Bringing together experience data from Qualtrics and operational data from the CRM platform aims to assist PGC in better understanding the drivers of its CX so the company can take targeted action to continually design and improve the experiences delivered.

According to Leah Garcia, VP for experience at PGC, Qualtrics’ XM service best serves the company’s commitment to bring innovative services across their customers and enterprise partners globally.

“We will be able to listen closely to the needs of our customers and rapidly respond, which will ensure PGC continually brings to market the products and services our customers want and deserve,” Garcia stated.

Meanwhile, Mao Gen Foo, head of Southeast Asia at Qualtrics stated that their service comes in response to the recent consumer behavior shifts by the offset of the global pandemic, which has also changed customer expectations significantly.

“It’s a reality that means being able to listen, understand, and rapidly act on the changing needs of your customers is a key competitive advantage. By standardizing its CX program with Qualtrics, PGC is well placed to unlock critical insights enabling the company to continually design and improve customer experiences that drive business outcomes,” Gen Foo stated.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH telco Smart partners with game dev Moonton for MPL Season 7

Manila, Philippines – Philippine telecommunications company Smart Communications (Smart) has partnered anew with Moonton, a Chinese video game developer and publisher, to be its official telco associate for the upcoming season of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL), which is the largest mobile esports league in the Philippines.

The MPL Season 7 will see 10 of the country’s top Mobile Legends esports teams compete, namely Aura PH, Onic PH, and Cignal Ultra, as well as Smart Omega Esports, and the defending champion Bren Esports, among others.

The teams will battle in a round-robin format for a chance to win the coveted championship title and a US$120K cash prize.

The telco company will stream the matches live on its Facebook page. Smart subscribers and esports fans are encouraged to watch the live stream for a chance to win exciting prizes, as well as receive exclusive updates, and freebies throughout the season.

Smart has previously partnered with Moonton, where the telco hosted events and gaming treats for Mobile Legends fans in 2017. Earlier this year, Smart has also supported Moonton’s M2 World Championship, where Filipino team Bren Esports won the top prize.