What telcos talk about when they talk about cloud

John C. Tanner

Put ten telecom service providers and an analyst in a room to discuss the cloud and you’ll get a widely varied discussion in terms of trends, experience, expectations and monetization opportunities. Telecom Asia did just that recently, organizing a roundtable, which was sponsored by Equinix. While everyone had their own market-specific views on the cloud, some common themes did emerge.

For example, one recurring theme around the table regarding monetization opportunities was private-cloud services for enterprises, which for many telcos seems like a logical start point – partly because enterprises prefer a managed-service offering, and partly because the public-cloud space is already dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google.

“We decided consciously not to compete head-on with the Amazons,” said Francisco Claravall, head of ITES products and services at Globe Telecom. “So we’ve gone with managed IT services, because that’s where we’re organized and we can add a lot of value.”

Jason Heng, VP of IT strategy and development at YTL Communications, added that while public cloud is an option, it’s one best explored via partnerships because the case for investment in public cloud is unclear.

“Working with partners is probably the best way forward instead of replicating what other people are already doing. The investment’s too high and the ROI may not be there.”

Navonil Roy, general manager of acquisition and partnership for Maxis, said that his company has had success with private-cloud services for CRM and ERP, but is also targeting consumer cloud services like picture storage and is also implementing cloud as an internal cost-mitigation strategy. “So we’re trying all three to see which ones work.”

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