Opening up to spur innovation

Joseph Waring
17 Nov 2009

Developing the tools to figure out what customers want and delivering services based on that insight will be the key differentiator and NBN is about open access not speed.

These were the main themes during a roundtable discussion that brought together eight telecom executives representing operators, the IDA and RSPs. The event, held in Singapore in October, was sponsored by Accenture and moderated by Telecom Asia group editor Joseph Waring.

The reason behind Singapore's national broadband network is actually not about speed, IDA assistant CEO Khoong Hock Yun said. "This is where the discussion gets derailed. It's really about effective open access, making sure everyone can get bandwidth at competitive prices. Speed we take for granted."

He said open access is the key factor that's spurs new services and innovation.

Singapore Press Holdings CIO Low Huan Ping agreed that there is sufficient bandwidth for what we want to do today. "The issue is with more fiber and more RSPs, is whether the cost can come down fast enough. If it does, I guarantee you more services will be introduced to use that bandwidth."

StarHub head of products and solutions Chan Kin Hung pointed to the lack of choice in the corporate segment, which has led to high prices. "When OpenNet comes in and companies have two choices, it will drive competition."

INREN managing director Mohan Narendran asked to what extent StarHub, SingTell and M1 will look at the NGN platform as something else to bundle with, such as mobile, IPTV and VoD plans. He says this will have a huge impact on RSPs because of the attractive consumer market. But he is concerned that the impact of the mobile way of living and working in the future hasn't fully been considered in the plans.

Since applications and services are a global business, OpenNet director Robert Chew suggested that the NBN will give local developers the opportunity to start locally then leverage other regional or global networks since it removes that barrier.

Gene Reznik, Accenture's global lead for telecom, pointed out that the basis of competition to date has been tied to infrastructure - who can provide ISP services.

"Let's assume at the end of the [NBN] transition period, say in five years, the legacy infrastructure as been sunset with open access and IP dialtone, if it were, available, are the providers ready to re-differentiate on branding, marketing, service innovation and bundling, or will new players move in?"


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