MW Asia highlights

14 Mar 2013

Day 1

Hong Kong Broadband Networks Niq Lai: "We want to be a big fat dumb pipe. We encourage OTT usage.

"If you look at our cost basis, we charge about 2 cents per megabyte per month -- that's less than 1% the cost in Australia or China. Hong Kong residents enjoy about the best value of broadband in the world. If you look at the pizza index, in most societies the cost of broadband will buy you four family-size pizzas. In Hong Kong it only gets you one pizza.

"And we are by far the most profitable return-on-equity company in Hong Kong in the fixed-carrier space. We generate four times higher returns than the incumbent."

TM Forum's CEO Martin Creaner: "Knowing about change is one thing. Doing something about it is another. The structure of the industry is transforming fundamentally -- the industry that we know and love is going away.

"The industry faces the infinite bandwidth problem. We got ourselves into this ridiculous situation where consumers believe that bandwidth should be free, or at least relatively cheap. And that additional bandwidth they require should be made available at essentially no extra cost. The consumer doesn't believe there should be a connection between consuming extra bandwidth and paying for extra bandwidth. And that is cultural thing that is happening in every country in the world, and it's really difficult to try and resolve."

HP's Miguel Carrero: "Let's face it, this a capital intensive industry and can only be sustained with a premium profitability. Commodity profitability is okay for many industries, but in a truly capital intensive industry like telecommunications it is bad news.

"The [GSMA] joyn plan to go ahead with an instant messaging platform is too late. SMS was a killer app in Spain up until 2006. Everybody was texting -- near the level of the Philippines. Guess what, due to whatsapp and other OTT messaging apps SMS is now almost dead. The OTT players are here to stay."

Prashant Gokarn, Indosat's chief strategy and planning officer: "Telcos typically look at the risk of what they do, but never look at the risk of what we don't do. Innovation takes time, and the one thing that telcos badly lack is patience. Innovation takes time and is expensive. The returns are almost always uncertain."

Damien Cummings, Samsung's regional marketing director of digital and social media: "The problem with things like social media and digital is that CEOs generally don't care, they don't understand. So one catchy way to get a project out is to give it a cool title, give it a name or make it an acronym."

He created a project called LASER. "It cuts through the red tape, it keeps you focused. It means leadership in digital, always-on marketing, social business, e-commerce, and ROI and results framework."

Day 2

Celcom Axiata CFO Chari TVT: "Some 80% of telcos' business is under threat. SMS is 13% of our revenue -- most of which goes straight to the bottom-line... We don't want to be next Kodak.

"Back four years ago when I joined Celcom, everyone was talking about data because it's sexy. But it represented only 10% of business at that time.

"Customers expect services to be free or cost 99 cents. We're moving to a 99-cent economy."

Samsung VP of content and services Nicholas Wodtke: "Don't collect data unless you plan to do something with it. Big data is not a business model. What is the rational for collecting the data? Getting to know your customer is not the answer."

Google Enterprise MD Ricky Kapur: "The biggest concern of businesses is the pace of innovation. In 1957 the average age of an S&P 500 company was 75 years. In 2003 it was down to 25 years, and in 2013 just ten years.

"The creators of Ouya, a small gaming device, used Kickstart to raise $8.5 million in 30 days. A new competitor can be born in 30 days. If I were VC I'd be scared."

Asked about if he's worried about competition from Amazon: "They are the competitor I know. I'm more worried about the ones I don't know."

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