Mohamed Asri Jaafar, Vice President of Product Marketing & Operations, Global & Wholesale, at Telekom Malaysia, explains how ASEAN will be a game-changer for the APAC region, and the role that telecoms carriers will play in helping APAC reach its full potential
Wholesale Insights: What’s the state of play on the telecoms carrier front in Asia-Pacific?
Mohamed Asri Jaafar: Asia-Pacific is the center of global telecoms growth especially in emerging markets. Global carriers are racing against time to establish foundation in this region to reap its potential. At a glance, this is seen as a major threat to APAC players but from a positive note, we see this as a driver for these players to step up efforts in addressing challenges from global carriers.
Obviously, carriers markets no longer focus in connectivity alone. Carriers are pushing for innovative solutions and services not only to traditional customers but also across many vertical markets. As such, carriers have an opportunity to become a catalyst of change in how consumers and business doing things now.
Small and medium sized carriers that failed to follow the flow will eventually have a hard time staying relevant in the market. The most logical reaction for them is to get involved in partnership, collaboration and even M&A activities with other carriers.
What has to happen for the Asia telecoms market to reach its full potential?
Regional stability in terms of social, political and economic landscape is a key element for APAC to reach its potential. Currently, APAC is in stable condition but government, business and public communities must strive for stronger position, as there is still room for improvements in certain aspects such as the economic gap among Asian countries and digital gaps within Asian countries.
APAC must be ready to adapt and adopt new and disruptive technology to sustain its competitiveness and become main driver for global growth. Technology-intensive business is replacing labor-intensive business, which is good for efficiency and productivity, and establishment of smart cities is a norm now. Planning for up-skilling manpower to handle and manage advancing technology is a must to maintain momentum.
Carriers need to assist governments of developing and emerging countries in APAC to build a strong foundation for growth. Investments in these countries will boost economic, technology transfer and productivity, which is essential for growth. However, government and regulatory bodies also need to play a role for this to happen. For instance, we applaud the Malaysian government in their effort to boost broadband penetration in rural and semi-rural areas.