Avoiding the commodity trap

Staff writer
28 Jun 2012

TM Global executive VP Rozaimy Rahman explains how its data center is enabling it to get off the fast track toward becoming a commodity business. Differentiated services require fresh ideas.

TelecomAsia.net: Which latent markets in Asia will benefit the most from many new submarine cable systems being built, and what benefits will they see, apart from capacity?

Rozaimy Rahman: Asia Pacific should not be treated as a homogenous region. This region is made of countries with different growth potential. One constant defines this region and that constant is growth.

Countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have started to emerge from their cocoons. These countries represent a huge latent potential. Their economies are booming and their business communities are growing.

The internet is no longer considered as a luxury item. It is now a necessity. The internet is an enabler to greater economic activities. So bandwidth capacity should not be treated just as a pipeline, it is a tool toward generating more wealth for a nation.

Knowledge is power and the key toward more knowledge is the ability to communicate. The communications industry provides that ability. Telecom must not only be seen as a money-making industry but must be seen as a tool to empower and to enrich nations.

What influences the decision to build?

The decision to build a new cable system involves a huge initial investment, and the maintenance cost throughout its lifetime represents a significant additional cost.

In most cases the reason to build is because there’s a future requirement for them, which may come from external demands or it may also come from internal demands.

Another reason for building a new cable system is to access new markets that have just opened up and are clamouring for cheap access to the bandwidth pipeline. Most of the time their only access is through neighbouring countries’ terrestrial lines, and we know how expensive this can be.

The last one is not really a reason but rather a decision that is imposed on us. A cable system normally has a 10-15 years life expectancy, as such eventually cable systems need to be replaced. Industry players always need to forecast this kind of investment to ensure their survivability in the future.

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