Marketing Featured South Asia

Telco Telenor names Mindshare as media agency in Pakistan

Pakistan – Telecommunications firm Telenor in Pakistan has appointed Mindshare as its media agency for both traditional and digital marketing. With the partnership, Telenor will be leveraging Mindshare’s expertise in media, digital, and buying.

Agha Zohaib, managing director at Mindshare Pakistan shared his excitement over the partnership. “We are truly honored to be appointed as Telenor’s media agency in Pakistan. This provides us with an incredible opportunity to work with one of the most robust telcos,” he said.

He also added that the partnership seems “promising and passionate” with both companies’ tech-driven and agile mindsets.

Meanwhile, CEO of Mindshare Asia Pacific Helen McRae also commented, “Our ambition of connecting data to good growth for our clients is at the heart of our partnership with Telenor. We look forward to propelling Telenor to even greater heights.”

Mindshare is a part of GroupM and one of the largest media buying house in Pakistan. The company was also previously appointed by MasterKong Beverage as its agency of record in China.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Singtel highlights commitment to prompt, quality service in CNY film

Singapore – Singaporean telecommunications company Singtel has released its new Chinese New Year film that emphasises Singtel’s commitment to providing prompt and quality service to its customers, which serves as a key differentiator of its services.

Titled ‘Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy!’, the sitcom-style short film featured two rival families, who got competitive at first but eventually bonded over the results of Singtel’s quick service. 

“Customer service lies at the heart of the Singtel customer experience and this film underscores our commitment to providing personalised, empathetic and accessible service to our customers,” said Anna Yip, chief executive officer of Consumer Singapore at Singtel.

She also added that Singtel intends to keep investing in its people and processes to deliver quality service that sets them apart from competitors. 

Lian Pek, vice president for group strategic communications and brand at Singtel, also said, “In today’s hyper connected world, technology plays a critical role in connecting people and supporting their digital-first lifestyles. But as played out in our latest festive film, sometimes things don’t go as planned and that’s where a committed service provider makes all the difference.”

Singtel has also previously released its Singapore’s National Day ad titled ‘The Making of a 5G Nation’, which illustrates how its infrastructure and engineering expertise have been vital to the National Day Parade since the 1960s.

Marketing Featured East Asia

HK telco SmarTone appoints Renee Sin as GM of branding, integrated marketing

Hong Kong – Leading telecommunications company in Hong Kong and Macau, SmarTone, has named Renee Sin as its new general manager for branding and integrated marketing

According to her LinkedIn profile, Sin will be handling SmarTone’s branding, integrated marketing, loyalty, CRM, store concept, and visual merchandising.

Prior to joining SmarTone, Sin was senior director of e-commerce and DTC at manufacturing company UCP Group, where she spearheaded its digital acceleration and acted as its COO for strategic development, e-commerce operation, and digital and growth marketing, amongst others.

She also held the senior director for e-commerce and marketing for Europe and APAC and ALDO Group, as well as the marketing director for footwear & apparel retailer Belle Worldwide Limited.

SmarTone has also previously entered a partnership with ABS-CBN Global in 2021, targeted at providing quality service to Filipinos in Hong Kong.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Bud Comms nabs PR duties for TPG Telecom in SG

Singapore – Tech PR agency Bud Communications has been awarded the public relations account of TPG Telecom in Singapore, following a four-month competitive pitch.

Through the appointment, Bud Communications will be responsible for helping set up influencer engagement, communication strategy, and brand campaigns on TPG Telecoms’ behalf. The agency will report to Crystal Sim, who joined TPG Telecom as marketing communication manager earlier this year, and Richard Tan, TPG Telecom’s CEO.

“We were looking for a communications partner that understands the lightning-speed of innovation and disruption in the telecoms space, whilst bringing fresh thinking to the fore. Bud was chosen due to their passion, appetite for fresh thinking, and experience in this area, and we look forward to our future partnership,” Tan stated.

The telco represents a new wave of growth for the integrated communications agency as it doubled down its efforts in the technology space since the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Oliver Budgen, founder and managing director at Bud Communications, commented, “TPG Telecom has already made an impressive start in Singapore, bringing together its world-class innovation and customer focus to challenge the competition. The pace of disruption, the variety of challenges and opportunities emerging in the telco space makes this a fascinating time to be representing them.”

Bud Comms has been winning multiple accounts since last year, which includes OTT-revenue management platform Evergent, electronics e-commerce company RS Components, entertainment marketing agency Culture Group, media intelligence company CARMA ASIA, and cybersecurity firm, White Ops, now known as HUMAN.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

dentsu MY rings up Axiata account to be named its creative agency of record

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Multinational Malaysian telecommunications company Axiata has recently appointed advertising company dentsu in Malaysia as its creative agency of record, effective by December this year.

The agency was tasked by Axiata in building its brand equity aligned to its strategic purpose of ‘Advancing Asia’, which is the company’s objective of being the best in the region in terms of innovation, connectivity and talent. Furthermore, dentsu will be providing end-to-end communications support for Axiata to strengthen its reputation with key stakeholders across the region.

Axiata’s appointment of dentsu Malaysia comes in retrospect of the need to elevate its growth as a trusted regional brand, its brand plans will require a targeted mix of campaigns focused on technology and innovation thought leadership, employer branding, good governance, credibility, sustainability, diversity, nation-building, and digital inclusion.

Kunal Roy, CEO of dentsu Creative, said, “We feel deeply honored and privileged to partner with a client that is so alike in our values and our purpose; we look forward to bringing alive Axiata’s purpose of ‘Advancing Asia’ with meaningful innovation and experiences. As Axiata continues to champion progress across Asia, dentsu is committed to partnering with Axiata using creativity as a force for lasting good everywhere, in every way.”

Meanwhile, Dato’ Izzaddin Idris, president and Group CEO at Axiata, commented, “As one of the largest diversified telco groups serving emerging markets in Asia, Axiata is well-positioned and anchored to support digital inclusion and progress in a time when governments, businesses, and societies turn to technology and digital innovation to drive recovery and growth. We look forward to dentsu’s best work to support our regional momentum and aspirations as The Next Generation Digital Champion by 2024.”

For Kien Eng Tan, CEO of dentsu Malaysia, they are thrilled to win Axiata’s mandate, which is not only a recognition of their creative excellence but a demonstration of how the agency can deliver impactful ideas, through a strong collaboration with their client.

“We look forward to leveraging our inclusive Consumer Vision 2030 to unlock opportunities for growth through integrated solutions that are real-time, data-driven and tech-enabled. I am proud of our team, the work we do is our people’s mission and pride — each employee at dentsu is fearless in embracing the invitation to the never before,” Tan concluded.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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 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.