There should be a joke about why the Irishman went from Colombia to Kuala Lumpur via Dublin. For Tony Regan, head of market development with Openet, it is not just about the Irish weather (and the lack of summer).
It is about the excitement, activity and potential in the Asia Pacific region.
Regan’s main remit is partnerships and, as we know, partnerships are the key to success in the mobile sector and particularly the digital mobile sector. “We want to take advantage of what’s happening at a macro-economic level”, says Regan. “If you look past the powerhouses of Asia: Australia, Singapore and China you see other economies really growing fast. Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are all seeing a lot of activity and the regulators are helping. They are also going after the youth market and the whole focus is on developing something new, something exciting”.
“What is also in their favour, and ours”, says Martin Morgan, head of Corporate Marketing “is that systems are really opening up and this is creating a real business opportunity. If you look at what is happening in the TM Forum, they are working on open APIs and open digital architectures and this changes the way companies look at BSS”.
If you thought that BSS would never find its way back on to the agenda this ‘opening up’ puts it front and centre. It also tips the balance in the ongoing argument between ‘best in class’ and ‘best suite’ towards best in class.
This, linked to the increasing understanding that progress will be made through partnerships, is bringing opportunities.
Openet has already laid the groundwork with existing partnerships in the region. Accenture and Deloitte Digital have solid relationships but NTT Data (in the shape of Dimension Data in Singapore) is also a focus. They have put together a best in class solution using Openet, Sigma Systems and MDS and this brings a centralised product catalogue to the table as well as world class rating and billing.
The main thing, as Morgan points out, “is that rating is becoming sexy again, even though you never thought you would hear me say that. The problem is that the new digital stacks are being developed for charging a fifteen year old’s requirements, such as games. So telcos are trapped between a 15 year old BSS stack and fulfilling the requirements of a 15 year old”.
As we have said before, the key to success in 5G (as in the 5G era, not just 5G technology) is supporting your customers’ customers. As a result, it is the enterprise focused parts of the telco organisation that is demanding solutions – now. “They need solutions that will support a vast logistics company or a shipping corporation, not the 15 year old” says Morgan.
Enter the IoT, and telcos do not yet know how to charge for all those sensors and devices. Subscription billing will not necessarily work here, you need to be able to charge for throughput and amount of data moved and latency and quality of service and service levels.
As an example SK Telecom has launched 5G (as we know) and has announced all sorts of services such as iMax type content, VR experiences in museums and have zero rated some of the services they want to use to attract customers.
Billing is, once again, so much more than about collecting money.
Some might think that Openet is spread pretty thin in the region but they have 180 people in Kuala Lumpur (181 if you count Tony Regan) and they are ready to leverage some impressive references such as SingTel, Optus and Globe.
“What we have developed with NTT Data is B2B in a Box”, says Regan. “This is the result of the collaboration between Openet, Sigma and MDS – and the cloud – and it provides a unified comms platform. As a small business you could easily have 10 vendors of different comms products and that is a problem. What we provide is a unified solution but with Microsoft 365, security, a flexible commercial model and a built in IoT capability”.
What surprises Regan is that the Asia Pacific region is similar to Latin America in the need for new approaches and innovation. What is key for Openet is enabling Globe, for example, to achieve all the things that vendors like putting on their brochures, such as Time to Market improving by 40% and data revenues increasing 28%, within a year.
It is that the time seems just right to swop Irish skies for the excitement of Kuala Lumpur and SE Asia.