South Korea’s big three telcos to share 5G in remote regions

South Korea’s three largest telcos are coming together to bring 5G to remote and coastal areas in the country.

SK Telecom, KT Corporation, and LG Uplus Corporation have signed an agreement that will see users in remote locations access 5G regardless of the mobile carrier they subscribed to.

This means that if a user is subscribed to SK Telecom, but SK Telecom’s mobile network does not cover the remote location that he or she is based and KT Corp.’s does, the user will still be able to activate 5G and surf the net with KT Corp.

This collaboration comes as part of the country’s ongoing plan to roll out 5G nationwide. In 2020, all three telcos vowed to invest up to $23 billion (KRW 25.7 trillion) to upgrade their network infrastructure.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said that the plan will currently undergo testing, and is scheduled for commercialisation in phases by April 2024.

The ministry also added that the selected remote regions are sparsely populated, with a population density of 92 people per square kilometer, compared with those without network sharing at 3,490 people per square kilometer.

As of February, the country had 13.66 million 5G subscriptions, accounting for 19 per cent of its total mobile users. South Korea was the world’s first country to commercialize 5G in April 2019.

Thailand’s True Corporation earmarks $2bn to develop 5G network

Identifying 5G networks as one of its core growth pillars, Thailand’s telecom operator True Corporation is set to spend 40 – 60 billion baht (about $1,2 – $1,9 billion) in the next three to five years.

The intention is also to transform True Corporation into a tech and data firm, Bangkok Post reported.

Head of the company’s 5G working group Piroon Paireepairit said that Thailand’s 5G network rollout is “on par with Japan”, unveiling its target of 1 million 5G subscribers this year, up from 250,000 recorded in 2020.

“Once we succeed in building innovative 5G applications, Thailand will become the stage where use cases are shown to the world,” Piroon said, expecting 5G service subscriptions to rise following the availability of 5G-enabled smartphones.

Previously, Nikkei Asia also reported that Thailand is the first country in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to have commercial 5G services.

Besides developing 5G network, True will also focus on improving its 5G content production and digital solutions as the front core pillar for customers, while strengthening data analytics to serve as the back-end pillar to get insights.

“Our brand purpose is to serve as a driving force for the nation by embracing Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things for intelligent connections,” stated Oliver Kittipong Veerataecha, chief brand and communication officer at True.

As of 2021, True has expanded its 5G footprint in 77 provinces in the country, claiming as “a market shaper” to build a complete digital experience for customers.

“We are no longer a telecom firm and are set to transform into a tech and data firm to provide end-to-end digital solutions,” said Natwut Amornvivat, co-president of True Corporation.

True also announced its establishment of the special 5G technology showcase True 5G Worldtech X based at True Digital Park. The digital park is enjoying a 5G tech sandbox facility that allows system integrators and startups to employ 5G-based applications.

Report: Singapore offers the best mobile experience in SEA

Singapore provides the best overall mobile experience in Southeast Asia, according to Tutela.

The data company recently released its 2021 Southeast Asia State of Mobile Experience report, ranking the network experience of users of each country’s mobile network operators across the region. Over 55 million smartphone speed and latency tests were evaluated between August 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021.

Singapore had the highest Core Consistent Quality in the region at 94.4 percent. It also has the highest Excellent Consistent Quality with 84.5 percent of connections having a network experience suitable for use-cases such as 1080p video streaming, real-time mobile gaming, and HD video calling.

Vietnam came in second for both Excellent and Core Consistent Quality at 86.1 percent. Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia follow with close Excellent Consistent Quality scores that are all above 50 percent, and Core Consistent Quality scores above 80 percent.

Image Credit: Tutela 2021 South East Asia Mobile Experience Report

The Philippines, however, did not fare so well compared to its neighbours. Its Excellent Consistent Quality score was 45.7 percent, whereas its Core Consistent Quality was 69.5 percent.

“In such a geographically small and highly advanced nation, mobile users expect near-perfect mobile experience all of the time – and the test results were strong for all operators,” said Tom Luke, Vice President at Tutela.

“As 5G rollouts continue and more 5G-capable devices become available, all of this could change in the coming months and we look forward to seeing the impact that this has on the results for all operators,” he added.

Nokia expands 5G footprint in the Philippines

Nokia has reached a three-year deal with Globe Telecom to upgrade the latter’s existing 4G network and expand the geographical reach of its 5G network at over 1,000 sites in the Philippines.

This is following Nokia’s collaborations last year with various Filipino partners, including Smart Telecommunications to launch Internet of Things (IoT) services and Equinix to bring next-generation edge architectures to the country.

As Nokia is an existing partner of Globe Telecom, the 5G project will begin as early as Q2 2021 in the second and third largest islands of the Philippines and is expected to complete in 2023, offering customers superior network speeds, capacity, and lower latencies while reducing complexity.

“It’s exciting to be part of this project to deliver 5G services to citizens across the Philippines and see our industry-leading 5G RAN solutions underpin the network,” said Tommi Uitto, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia.

After Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) services, its cloud-native, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that enables a smooth upgrade to 5G has been adopting in the country since last October, the deployment of the current 5G project includes the provision of equipment and services from Nokia’s comprehensive 5G AirScale portfolio to build out the Radio Access Network (RAN), including base stations and other radio access products.

Globe Telecom will also use Nokia’s high-capacity AirScale massive MIMO Adaptive Antenna solution to boost coverage and performance and NetAct solution for network management and seamless daily network operations.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Nokia to deliver compelling 5G experiences to our customers,” said Ernest Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom. “We are going full steam ahead in delivering 5G in more areas, as this technology brings us closer to our goal of providing #1stWorldNetwork in the Philippines.”

In the same month, Globe Telecom has also announced its collaboration with roaming ally and Thailand’s largest telecom operator, Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS), to launch 5G roaming service in Thailand in an attempt to expand its cross-border offerings in key markets in Asia, Middle East, North America, and Europe.

Huawei launches APAC’s first smartphone lab in Singapore

Huawei Technologies has launched a brand new regional lab in Singapore, its first in the Asia Pacific region.

Named DigiX Lab, the $40 million (SGD52.8 million) facility located at Changi Business Park will function as a one-stop consultation center for developers, offering support for next-generation technologies such as AR, VR, and AI.

This means that app developers are able to test their applications and services on Huawei’s mobile devices before launching them.

“In the era of 5G, Huawei aims to build a connected world with HMS that empowers developers to innovate as they build their business,” said Mr. Shan Xuefeng, Director of Asia Pacific at Huawei’s Consumer Cloud Service.

Mr. Nicholas Ma, Chief Executive of Huawei International, added that the lab serves as an example of Huawei “doubling down on future growth in Singapore.”

Its first in APAC, DigiX Lab is Huawei’s second in the world after the first in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Deepening ties in Southeast Asia

DigiX Lab is one of many steps that Huawei is taking to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia’s tech ecosystem. The company has recently signed a deal with the Malaysian government to construct the region’s first cybersecurity lab.

In Thailand, Huawei has also been actively providing support for both public and private sectors to push for greater digital transformation in AI, cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

How edge computing will exponentially grow the China market

Over the past decades, there have been paradigm shifts from centralised to decentralised IT environments: from mainframe server to on-premise server and from mobile to cloud environments. In many ways, it seems like an electronic dance music loop.

Nowadays, the industry is continuing to see growth of Cloud computing, which experts believe will continue to lead the ICT infrastructure market. In that space, Edge Computing will become an exponentially growing market in itself, with the increasing penetration of network-related technologies and initiatives, such as 5G and IoT.

According to Reply’s new research ‘From Cloud to Edge’, edge computing will be an exponentially growing market in all “Europe-5” (Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium), and “Big-5” (USA, United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India) clusters’ countries due to the growing usage of 5G and IoT solutions. It is expected that Edge computing marketing would reach a value of $8294.5 million by 2025, according to

All the industries that require the computing tasks as close to where data is originated as possible will benefit from Edge Computing. It’s time for global enterprises to design and implement architectures that leverage the best of Edge and Cloud Computing, “while ensuring privacy and cybersecurity” commented Filippo Rizzante, CTO reply.

China: 100+ Edge Projects Deployed in China Leveraging 5G and IoT Infrastructure

According to a new GSMA intelligence report ‘Edge Computing in the 5G Era: Technology and Market Developments in China’, noted that China’s leadership in edge computing is being driven by government support for new technologies and operator investments in new 5G and IoT networks. According to the ECC, there are currently more than 100 edge computing projects up and running in 40 cities in China across various sectors.

However, even as “China’s 5G numbers might look overwhelming, the quantity is well ahead of the quality.” Explained Robert Clark, a news analyst. “The real challenge in China will be in the industrial Internet.”

Though it’s still early, as networks become virtual or software-based, 5G will be the impulse for the next wave of multibillion-dollar infrastructure spending to spur innovation across many industries along with edge computing.

Take Chinese Grids’ Transformation as an example, China’s State Grid Corp (SGCC), government-backed biggest electricity distributor, has adopted a new focus for its smart grid development to build an electricity network plus IoT (E-IoT, essentially, is to deploy blockchain, AI, cloud computing, 5G, edge computing, and other digital/tech solutions upon the physical grid operation) by 2026.

Start from 2019, SGCC has already took steps to run its digital transformation. In 2020, Kou Wei, the current chairman of SGCC set off a landmark “white paper” for the e-IoT development, which set a grand vision to “establish an initial construction of the E-IoT network by 2021 and complete the E-IoT network development by 2026.” At the same year, working with Huawei and China Telecom, a largest-scale 5G-based smart power grid project in Qingdao of Shandong province was completed. Innovations in 5G telecommunication technology applications are applied e.g. DP facility suitable for 5G distribution power lines is equipped which can automatically eliminate faults of the lines within dozens of milliseconds (the one-way latency of the DP device is lowered to 8 milliseconds and the protection can last for 50 milliseconds).

SGCC has already taken further initiatives to build edge infrastructure nationwide in the next few years to advance its E-IoT network, a source who did not wish to be named told

“Creating a favourable ecosystem environment that supports technology developments and fosters innovation will ultimately determine the pace and magnitude of edge deployments in China and beyond.” explained Sihan Bo Chen, Head of Greater China, GSMA.

In the next few years, we will see more breakthroughs brought about by edge computing in BFSI, medicine, transport, industry, agriculture and the home. Edge computing gains an ‘edge’ in performance with data processing in an intelligent way as near as possible to its source that will bring practical benefits to help with the digitization of various industries.

The year of the Ox has dawned in China, named after a zodiac animal noted for its slow-but-steady approach. The description of China’s emerging 5G private network market could not be more accurate.

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NTT Docomo forms 5G consortium in Thailand

Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo is joining forces with twelve other leading tech firms to establish a 5G consortium in Thailand.

Members of the consortium will leverage NTT Docomo’s Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) to provide users with high-speed 5G services, such as Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC).

Members of this consortium include Japanese heavyweight companies Fujitsu, NEC Corporation, NTT’s subsidiaries NTT Communications, NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting, and Thailand-based IT company Loxley.

The group’s target client base will be manufacturing and construction companies based in Thailand.

The consortium plans to launch commercially in 2022 after demonstration tests succeed in Thailand in the second half 2021. There are also plans to branch out of Thailand and expand its services into other markets in the Asia Pacific region where digital transformation efforts are needed.

Rakuten to roll out 5G for Ligado Networks

Rakuten Mobile has bagged a deal from Ligado Networks to design a private 5G network.

This network will use the Japanese operator’s customisable platform, something which Rakuten brings as a key ingredient in designing next-gen networks, based on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).

Ligado is currently a network operator of mobile satellite service (MSS) to government and commercial customers across North America. The Reston, Virginia-based company is enhancing its MSS offerings and developing new, innovative 5G services for enterprise customers across the public safety, manufacturing, agriculture, and other critical infrastructure sectors.

Both the companies announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where they will collaborate to create a blueprint for Ligado’s 5G mobile private network solution that leverages RCP. As per the MoU, the companies will commence efforts in Q1 2021 with ecosystem partners and vendors to establish a timeline for the implementation of network trials and blueprint for solutions.

With this MoU, Rakuten Mobile and Ligado Networks aim to accelerate the delivery of private networks through the use of open technology. RCP combines the proven technologies and expert playbook of the world’s first end-to-end cloud native, software-centric, Open RAN based mobile network of Rakuten Mobile and its partners to offer enterprises a way to easily build and deploy fully cloud native network services at speed and low-cost.

Ligado’s licensed mid-band spectrum supports enterprises by building mobile networks that meet their requirements for availability, coverage and flexibility for indoor and outdoor deployments.

“With 5G being introduced by mobile network operators around the world, some of the most innovative use-cases will be in 5G mobile private networks. 5G brings ultra-low latency and ultra-high bandwidth enabling unprecedented experiences and services and unique applications in private networks.” commented Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile.

Rakuten unveiled its RCP plans late last year and since its launch has been sewing up partnerships with software ecosystem providers such as Tech Mahindra. The platform is a combination of the operator’s various technical and intellectual property that it’s using to construct its software-centric network in Japan. The RCP model is focused on mobile operators, enterprises interested in private networks, and governments.

For 5G mobile private networks, Ligado’s vision is to offer connectivity dedicated to enterprise customers allowing a single company to manage the connection of people and things as they move within and across their various locations. 5G mobile private networks deliver continuity of coverage, local compute and connectivity integration, and greater control and security.

These attributes are essential to support rapidly advancing digital use cases, such as AR/VR, smart robotics and enterprise cloud services, which provide the technology foundation for critical infrastructure entities with large footprints like factories, energy and resource operations, farms, and public utilities.

Rakuten began demonstrating the RCP platform kast year and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani had said that it reduces capex for mobile operators by 40 per cent and opex by 30 per cent.


OpenSignal: Philippines and Thailand see most improvement in 5G experience

The Philippines and Thailand are two Southeast Asian markets that see the biggest improvement in terms of mobile experience with 5G. In terms of 4G/5G download speed, Thailand’s 5G is 13.4 times faster than that of 4G, whereas the Philippines’ is 10.1 times faster.

Mobile analytics company OpenSignal published its latest global 5G experience report, detailing the 5G development of emerging markets.

5G video experience in the Philippines saw a 40 percent improvement, ranking first. Thailand came in second place with a 29 percent improvement, ahead of Hong Kong, Taiwan, UK and Australia.

Image Credit: OpenSignal

Commenting on the survey, Ian Fogg, lead analyst at OpenSignal, said: ““For 5G to be relevant to mainstream mobile users, the latest mobile technology must offer an excellent and superior mobile network experience. In this analysis, we quantify just how good the 5G experience can be.”

The world’s fastest 5G is in South Korea

Meanwhile, with an average download speed of 354.4 Mbps, South Korea ranks first in the world in 5G speed. It is also the only country in the world with a download speed that exceeds 300 Mbps. This is followed by the UAE, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia, with 292.2, 272.2, and 264.7 Mbps of download speed respectively.

Image Credit: OpenSignal

Next, in terms of 5G availability and reach, South Korea, Kuwait, and Hong Kong take the top three spots. 29.8 percent of smartphone users in Kuwait spend the highest proportion of time connected to an active 5G signal, and in South Korea and Hong Kong the number is 24.7 percent and 23.4 percent respectively.


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How Data Centers in China Are Heading Towards Carbon Neutrality

After Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that by 2030 China would cut emissions per unit of GDP by “at least” 65 percent compared with 2005 levels at the virtual Climate Ambition Summit, China has sped up its decarbonization and development of a low carbon economy.

The announcement was met with a mixed response with some environmental observers questioning whether China can go this far.

“The most challenging part of the shift is not the investment or magnitude of renewable capacity additions but the social transition that comes with it,” said Wood Mackenzie analyst Prakash Sharma.

In China, representing the information backbone of an increasingly digitalized society, data centers are still a net producer of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and major electrical power users. Research from Greenpeace and North China Electric Power University estimated that China’s data center consumed 161 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2018, equivalent to 2 percent of the country’s total usage. The power consumption is projected to grow 66 percent by 2023, to 267 billion kilowatt hours, which means 163 million tonnes of carbon emissions are produced assuming China’s energy mix remains the same.

Tier-I cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have applied strict PUE rules as a method to push the industry towards greener operations. While Beijing has implemented a complete citywide ban on new data center construction, Shanghai only allows new data center with a PUE of 1.3 or below and refitted ones with a PUE of 1.4 or below. Meanwhile in Shenzhen, data centers with a PUE of over 1.4 receive no subsidies and those with less than 1.25 could obtain a subsidy of over 40 percent. Besides, central government policy on more use of renewable energy remains one of guidance and encouragement. China manufactures around 70 percent of solar energy equipment such as PV panels and modules.

Renewed Renewable Energy push

Different from traditional infrastructure like roads and railways, construction of “new infrastructure” in China is boosted to remain the primary driver of energy consumption in the foreseeable future. With data centers rapidly expanding and depleting environmental resources, the energy and climate impacts are being one of top considerations in China, as well as the world in general.

Intensive energy use can be costly both in terms of the data center’s operating budget (often representing more than 50 percent of the budget) and the impact on the environment.

Interest in renewable energy in China has been growing for several years, and leading Chinese companies have already undertaken the exploration of renewable energy use.

Research from Greenpeace and North China Electric Power University also states that China is outpacing the US in renewable energy, and has made huge progress in developing solar and wind projects.

However, nearly three quarters of (data centers’) power comes from coal, said Ye Ruiqi, a climate expert from Greenpeace. “To prevent this, China’s data centers need to decouple their electricity consumption from their carbon footprint by relying more on wind and solar energy. They can build their own renewable energy capacity, buy clean energy on the market or purchase green certificates to offset their emissions,” she added.

A Turning Point

In the backdrop of all this, China’s proposal to achieve net zero emissions by 2060 aims can be seen as a turning point. To fulfill the goal of carbon reduction and pollution prevention, China’s tech giants, state-owned energy companies and other important players are encouraged to make great efforts, from advancing technologies that produce less greenhouse gases or air pollution, accelerating energy transition and taking more social responsibilities.

In December 2020, China Three Gorges Corporation, a Chinese state-owned power company operating the China Yangtze Three Gorges Project (one of the biggest hydropower-complex projects in the world), announced plans to construct its Dongyue Temple Data Center. It is planned to build about 28,000 cabinets and invest 5.5 billion CNY (around $855.8 million). In Stage I, about 4,400 cabinets will be put into use by October, 2021, with an investment of 830 million CNY (around $ 129 million).

Responding to Chinese government’s pledge of “carbon neutrality” and the scheme of “New Infrastructure”, the group will further utilize the advantages of clean energy, stock land and real estate to promote the big data industry. Although it has been involved in the big data industry since 2017, it is the first time that the group announces its ambition to expand business with such massive spending on the ICT market.

Chinese private enterprises seem to have got off the block. On January 12, Chinese internet giant Tencent released its plan of achieving zero carbon emissions with the help of technology. With this announcement, Tencent became one of the first Internet companies to take action in achieving carbon neutrality.

“As China announces its carbon peak and carbon neutrality targets, Tencent will also accelerate its carbon neutrality plan. At the same time, we will also increase the exploration of the potential of cutting-edge technologies represented by artificial intelligence in coping with the major challenges of the earth, and make great strides to promote the application of technology in industrial energy conservation and emission reduction,” said Tencent’s founder Ma Huateng (also known as Pony Ma).

Chindata Group, a leading carrier-neutral hyperscale data center solution provider in China, also releases its roadmap to be carbon neutral for all its next-generation hyperscale data centers in China with its 100% renewable energy solution by 2030.

As China becomes a more developed economy, accelerated efforts of decarbonization to accelerate technology innovation and industrial upgrading are made. China’s transition to a low carbon economy is not only possible but can be a driver of high-quality growth while bolstering the development of digital transformation.

How Far Behind

Since 2018, institutions globally are moving towards achieving carbon neutrality, even as concerns have been raised at the way in which this is computed.

Although more Governments and businesses are committing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the world is still falling far short of that goal, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in November in his latest push for a cleaner, greener future. Guterres reported that so far, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea, along with more than 110 other countries, have made the pledge, while China is set to join them by 2060. “The window of opportunity is closing,” he warned.

In January, following the inauguration, President Biden signed an executive order at the White House, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which returned the United States to the worldwide fight to slow global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside China, the United States is the world’s most carbon emitter.

Financial institutions have been accused of funding “dirty capital” into traditional power projects. All this is changing.

Goldman Sachs has ruled out direct finance for new or expanding thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide, as well as direct finance for new Arctic oil exploration and production.

The policy makes a clear mention of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,

Goldman Sachs said in a statement. Further, the bank has also committed to a phase out of financing for significant thermal coal mining companies that do not have a diversification strategy. Goldman Sachs’s new policy tightens the screw on thermal coal by including underwriting, and explicitly committing to phase-out, not just reduction.

This is a crucial step forward, as other US bank coal finance restrictions have geographic loopholes, industry watchers said.

While other major banks have committed to reducing credit exposure to coal mining, their approach restricts only lending, ignoring the large amounts of capital the banks facilitate for the coal industry from the underwriting of issuances of stocks and bonds. Activists have been vehement in their criticism of global financial institutions, which they say are turning a blind eye and undermining the Paris Agreement when it comes to phasing out coal-based energy production. Other financial institutions have followed suit too.

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said that Goldman Sachs’s updated policy shows that U.S. banks can draw red lines on oil and gas, and now other major U.S. banks, especially JPMorgan Chase – the world’s worst banker of fossil fuels by a wide margin – must improve on what Goldman has done.

“The writing was already on the wall for coal financing. Goldman Sachs’s new policy puts that writing in flashing neon,” he added.

According to research by non-profit organisations like Urgewald, BankTrack and 30 others, banks and other financial institutions from January 2017 to September 2019, they have provided lending finance and underwriting services to 258 coal plant developers in the world. According to Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald, this has amounted to channeling $745 billion.

Countries like India have also committed to reduce energy emissions intensity by 30 – 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy to 40 percent of India’s energy mix by 2030.

Internationally, there is broad recognition of the need to reduce power use and emissions. This motivates greater efforts in developing future policies, and changes in regulation, taxation and electricity market. In the changing global landscape, data center, an increasingly critical part of the infrastructure for the digitalised society, have outsized importance in climate change mitigation efforts. This is the time when this industry needs to take responsibility and look at sustainability beyond lip service.

For more insights on China, do check out our digital event China Datacenter Market Insights happening on March 5!

LG to collaborate with Qualcomm for 5G cars

South Korea’s LG Electronics (LG) has partnered with US wireless technology company Qualcomm to develop 5G automotive platforms.

Both LG and Qualcomm will jointly establish a research center in Seoul, South Korea to develop 5G for vehicles and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, the company said.

“LG plans to lead the next-generation vehicle components market by combining our experience in automotive communication technologies with Qualcomm’s advanced connected solutions from LTE to 5G,” said Kim Jin-yong, Executive Vice President of LG’s Vehicle Components Smart Business Unit.

Kim says that the company is confident that the combined research strength of both companies will yield significant benefits that would not be achieved through independent work.

The 5G platform is expected to be able to connect vehicles to nearby base stations and perform a variety of next-generation functions, including smart navigation, real-time broadcasting, and making emergency calls through in-vehicle communication.

Nakul Duggal, Vice President of Product Management at Qualcomm, said that the partnership with LG demonstrates both parties’ commitment to the development of advanced solutions for safe, connected, and increasingly autonomous vehicles.

“With the automotive industry on a clear path to 5G, we look forward to working together with LG to meet the demands of today’s drivers and advance the commercialization of C-V2X technology in next-gen vehicles,” he added.

Vietnam telcos to pilot 5G in An Giang

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of An Giang has been selected as the location for the government’s piloting of 5G services this year.

Located in the southwest of Vietnam, An Giang borders Cambodia and is a significant agricultural center.

State-owned telcos, VNPT and Viettel, will be tasked with launching the service. After conducting commercial 5G trials in major cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has chosen An Giang to boost tourism management and digital infrastructure investment in the province.

The An Giang Provincial People’s Committee said that as of now, all localities in An Giang are covered by 3G, 4G, and mobile broadband.

Viettel and VNPT are two of the largest telecommunications service providers in Vietnam. The former is owned by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence, whereas the latter is owned by the country’s national post office.

In December last year, Viettel launched a 5G commercial trial in Hanoi and VNPT also had the go-ahead to trial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Singapore government sets up 30 million dollar fund to drive commercial 5G

To further spur Singapore’s 5G drive, the government has launched a new $30 million fund to accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of 5G solutions.

Introduced by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the fund is part of the Authority’s 5G Innovation Program that aims to create a thriving 5G ecosystem that benefits individuals and businesses.

This means that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are now able to apply for a grant from the fund to support their digital transformation projects.

Mr. Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA, hopes that this fund will see more SMEs in Singapore participate and seize the opportunities offered by 5G technology.

“5G is a key enabler for Singapore’s digital future, and I am encouraged to see our 5G partnerships with industry demonstrating good results, such as through more efficient and reliable port operations, and good progress on the ongoing trials,” he added.

SMEs that are interested in applying for the fund can submit a proposal to IMDA highlighting the commercialisation plan of their 5G-enabled solutions. Once approved, the IMDA will cover up to 70% of the project cost.

How China’s Data Center Industry is Likely to Shape Up in 2021

The year 2021 could be termed as a “Year of Renewal”. The world is still in chaos with continuing uncertainties, while at the same time rapidly accelerating and transforming.

As a distinct growth pole of global economy, China’s rapid recovery from the Covid-19 has been commendable. Since the last two decades, it has benefited from fast economic growth, and the country has stood out in the developing world for its unique strengths in its market size, diversity and vitality.

Moreover, with the renewed emphasis on infrastructure in its Five-Year Plan and long-term strategy as well as the new policies boosted to empower the digital economy, new infrastructure development and significant increase in demand for data center is being seen on the ground. Case in point- the undersea data center in Zhuhai.

New Infrastructure Push

Fueled by a surge in demand for local demand for digitalization of business and consumer environment, the construction of new infrastructure including 5G and data centers has developed into a strategy, which enables it to meet the twin urgent goals of increasing employment and preparing for new changes in the global economy.

At the 2020 National People’s Congress, the CCP first emphasizes a digital infrastructure public spending programme. Now, building ‘new infrastructure’ has already become a top development priority for China. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, China has witnessed the potential of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing.

Several tech giants in China have announced plans to scale up their data centers. Following China’s ‘new infrastructure’ initiative, Chinese internet giant Tencent revealed its $70 billion investment on key sectors over the next five years towards making advances in cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) while Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba announced to invest $28.7 billion into its cloud and data center infrastructure over the next three years. Also, Baidu, the leading search engine in China, has planned to set up 5 million servers in the next 10 years.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) it is!

The National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NDRC) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) jointly issued the ‘Notice Concerning Work in Relation to Advancing Infrastructure Real Estate Investment Trust Trials’ in April, with an aim to channelise personal savings and private capital into infrastructure projects.

Then in August, NDRC announced that it had recently issued the ‘Notice Concerning Effectively Performing Infrastructure REIT Trial Project Application Work’, which indicates that the Chinese government will give priority to “national key strategic” infrastructure projects when receiving applications for REIT trials, as well as “encourage the undertaking of trials for new forms of infrastructure.”

The Notice further indicates that “national key strategic” infrastructure projects will include those associated with regional development plans for the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) area, Xiong’an New Area in Hebei province, the Yangtze River Delta, the Greater Bay Area, and the Hainan Free Trade Port.

As per this new initiative, China expedites infrastructure REITs so that fresh capital could be converted into investment capital in the long term while reducing leverage. Dozens of companies have begun preparing for launching publicly tradable REITs since the trial released. However, the applications are still under consideration as the requirements are very strict.

In the next three to five years, such products are likely to provide about 6 trillion Yuan (around $900 billion) in financial support for China’s infrastructure construction, thus further improving the speed and efficiency of China’s infrastructure build out.

New Area

This is closely linked to new development and is being framed in new ways. ‘New Area’ has rocketed to ubiquity, especially when we consider the site selection. Government influence may steer investors’ location preferences here in China.

To promote urbanization and industrialization, and now digitalization, many new areas and zones have been established to concentrate investments and the labor force as well as resources within designated region with more flexible management systems.

For example, Xiong’an New Area, in Hebei province, was announced to be a National New Area as the “Millennium Plan, National Event” by the State Council and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It has become the third new special zone with “national significance” after Shenzhen SEZ and Shanghai Pudong New Area while the other two have already driven the rapid development of the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta respectively. Xiong’an New Area connects the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road with the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to drive the development of the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei economic triangle in Northern China.

Currently, China is speeding up its digital transformation of economy with a plan to build industrial ‘big data’ centers nationwide, enabling massive amounts of information to be used for developing more efficient industries. Supported by government, construction of data center is boosted in these regions such as the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) area, Xiong’an New Area, the Yangtze River Delta, the Greater Bay Area, and the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Power Usage Efficiency (PUE)

The word ‘PUE’ never loses its power. The availability and cost of electricity are important factors influencing data center site selection in China. The energy consumption quota of data centers must be approved by governmental agencies including National Economy and Informatization Commission and National Development and Reform Commission.

Electricity resources in coastal areas and tier I cities are restricted as local electricity generation is insufficient to meet consumption, meaning that obtaining approval for large energy consuming businesses can be problematic.

In order to ensure effective control of energy consumption, improving energy efficiency in major energy fields and accelerating the application of energy-saving and low-carbonizing technologies have become the main goals and tasks of local government during the 13th Five-Year Plan period.

China’s Tier-1 cities, with their high concentrations of data centers and infrastructure, have been first to act, guided by the central government’s 13th Five Year Plan targets for energy use and intensity. Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have already applied strict PUE rules when approving new data centers, pushing the sector towards greener operations with higher energy efficiency.

Although Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other coastal areas are the major data center markets in the country, areas like Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Guizhou pop up to be players under central policy support. National-level big data and data center pilot projects sprout up in these renewables-rich provinces for they offer ample electricity supply and cheap tariffs. Local governments in these areas also offer discounts for electricity consumption by data centers, which can further reduce operating costs.

Built-to-suit Data Center

Data center investment continues to rise in China with growing interest. Larger population bases, more social media activities, data protection and cyber security legislation forcing users to switch to onshore data centers. Does it mean that to invest in this market never fail? Of course not. The consensus of ‘Customer-centric’ is being embraced by players in China market.

As a part of this, ‘built-to-suit’ data center was developed. Customizing a data center, ‘built-to-suit’, is a much different, more challenging undertaking for a certain type of business buyer, or even specific client.

Different from before, one-size-fits-all data center solutions are no longer a priority at a larger scale. More data center service providers are looking to be in tune with clients from pre-development and align with their expectations.

At the same time, built-to-suit also provides a cost transparency and speed to market. As it is specifically designed to fit the clients’ every need, built-to-suit data center can meet the goals with best practices. In 2020, selected “Unprecedented” as the word of the year. In 2021, it could be “Transformation”.

For more insights on China, do check out our digital event China Datacenter Market Insights happening on March 5!

Thailand’s Economic Corridor will be the first to launch 5G in Southeast Asia

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), will become the first special economic region in Southeast Asia to offer 5G telecommunications connectivity.

EEC Secretary General, Dr. Kanit Sangsubhan, revealed in a recent interview that 5G signals are already in place in the region, and the government is working with companies and local residents to develop the best 5G solutions.

“Half the area of the EEC will be covered by 5G by February 2021,” explained Dr. Kanit. The fifth generation wireless technology of 5G comes with higher speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect an unimaginable number of devices.

The EEC, stretching through South and East Bangkok, is a 13,000 square kilometer hub that is home to some of the largest global suppliers of tech products and services.

Developed in 2018, the EEC is responsible for accelerating Thailand’s digital economy strategy, known as Thailand 4.0, and aims to propel the country into developed nation status by 2035.

After 5G, the Thai government and private investors will then be spending $3.3 billion (100 billion baht) to construct a 220-kilometer high-speed train connecting the EEC with Bangkok’s two airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport.

In February 2020, both Advanced Wireless Network and True Move H Universal Communication won 2600-megahertz in a 5G spectrum license auction. By February 2021, the companies are required to provide 5G network coverage for at least 50% of the Eastern Economic Corridor which includes the provinces Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

Deputy secretary general Sutisak Tantayotin told The Bangkok Post that the launch of 5G enabled headsets and compatible smartphones like the iPhone 12 also pushed the commission to speed things up.

“We found the combined 5G network roll-out by AWN and TUC covers more than 70 per cent of the EEC area,” he added.

In December, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC, said that they are ahead of schedule for the 5G rollout. This move also needs to be seen in the backdrop of Thailand ranking fourth globally, when it comes to losing out on tourism revenue, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SK Telecom launches the first 5G Edge Cloud service in South Korea

South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, SK Telecom has launched the country’s first 5G cloud service that supports edge computing.

Named ‘SKT 5GX Edge’, SK Telecom joined hands with cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the launch.

SKT 5GX Edge uses AWS’ Wavelength technology, and the service will allow users to build and perform a variety of services and functions, including ultra-low latency mobile apps, video games, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning tools.

Alongside this, the collaboration between SK Telecom and AWS has also seen the establishment of ‘AWS Wavelength Zones’, which are infrastructure deployments that facilitate, in this case, SKT 5GX Edge.

As of now, South Korea’s first AWS Wavelength Zone is located in Daejeon, the country’s administrative and transportation hub. Both companies plan to expand the Wavelength Zone to Seoul this year.

IBM and Samsung join forces to spur cloud and 5G development

IBM and Samsung have signed an agreement that will see both tech giants collaborate on hybrid cloud, 5G, and edge computing to steer towards the Industry 4.0 Revolution and encourage digital transformation.

Samsung will be combining its signature Galaxy 5G mobile devices, and end-to-end enterprise network solutions with IBM’s network management hybrid cloud and edge computing offerings.

“The move to standalone 5G has accelerated the adoption of Industrial IoT solutions and will require businesses to adopt an edge computing strategy that allows them to manage their IT environments from anywhere,” said KC Choi, EVP and Head of Global Mobile B2B Team for the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.

IBM and Samsung’s collaboration will be built on Red Hat’s open architecture. IBM acquired the open source software company in 2018 for $34 billion.

“We are excited to work with IBM to discover how our unique devices, mobile IoT and network solutions can provide frontline workers with access to better data and more actionable insights to take their business to the next level.” Mr. Choi added.

Both companies plan to set out to lend their expertise to develop private 5G networks, which will also be built on Red Hat via the company’s flagship open source container application platform, OpenShift.

“The transition of communication networks from proprietary architecture to intelligent, software-defined hybrid cloud platforms enables the creation of enormous new value in the 5G and edge era,” said Steve Canepa, Global GM and Managing Director of IBM’s Communications Sector.

The goal of the partnership is to leverage hybrid cloud solutions, which will enable enterprises to draw greater insights from data at the edge, improving operational performance, increasing worker safety, and minimising downtime.

“5G devices and network solutions from Samsung, along with IBM and Red Hat’s open, hybrid cloud capabilities, can help organisations across all industries accelerate their transformation and solve real business problems, while unlocking the true power of 5G and edge,” added Mr. Canepa.

Samsung, IBM, and Red Hat also plan to deliver AI-powered solutions for Industry 4.0 and beyond by leveraging the power of 5G devices, cloud-native 5G networks, and advanced edge computing platforms.

Nokia continues 5G, cloud partnership with Japan’s SoftBank

Nokia has announced that Japanese telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank has selected their 5G Core software to enable the launch of Softbank’s standalone 5G services.

Nokia’s 5G Core is developed around cloud-native and DevOps principles, which is expected to benefit SoftBank users by delivering higher connectivity, scalability, and bandwidth, all with lower latency.

“Nokia 5G Core’s near-zero-touch automation capabilities, high-level operational efficiencies, scale and performance will help SoftBank deliver advanced services and experience, and boost network reliability,” said John Lancaster-Lennox, Head of Market Unit Japan at Nokia.

SoftBank will also be leveraging two of Nokia’s cloud offerings, Cloud Mobility Manager and Cloud Mobile Gateway, to support the company’s 5G rollout.

“We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Nokia as we enable fast and reliable 5G service for our subscribers. This 5G core solution will catapult us into the next phase of our 5G transition,” said Keiichi Makizono, Senior Vice President and CIO of SoftBank.

The new partnership will aim to support new use cases, virtual and augmented reality, fixed wireless access, video surveillance and analytics, cloud robotics, and connected vehicles.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Image Credit: The Bruneian

Indonesian Government signs 5G deal with Huawei

Indonesia has signed a deal with Huawei to develop 5G in the country, the first agreement of its kind that the Government has entered into.

As part of a Memorandum of Understanding, a series of collaborations across multiple organisations are expected. According to NikkeiAsia, the agreement will see Huawei assisting the Indonesian government in 5G and other related tech fields, including training 100,000 professionals in next-generation tech skills, such as cloud computing.

Next, Indonesia’s second-largest telco, Indosat Ooredoo, will be assisted by Huawei with the installment of 5G infrastructure that will be powered by SRv6, the first segment routing technology of its kind in the Asia Pacific.

On top of that, the Chinese tech giant will also be working with an Indonesian Government agency in the development of AI.

Both Ericsson and Nokia have launched tests for 5G in Indonesia, but ‘Huawei equipment are 20-30% less costly, and the quality is advancing’, according to a person close to Telekomunikasi Indonesia, the state-owned telecom, who spoke to NikkeiAsia.

“With Huawei’s help, we expect to bring the level of our human resources up to international standards,” said a source close to the Indonesian presidential office to NikkeiAsia.

Huawei has been actively partnering with governments and enterprises in Southeast Asia to expand its digital footprint in the region, particularly in Indonesia and Thailand.

Huawei currently has a 5G research center, and two data centers in Thailand with a third one coming in 2021. In October, the Thai Government signed a three-year MoU with Huawei that will see the company provide tech upskill training to ICT professionals in Thailand.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Vietnam’s Viettel becomes first 5G carrier in the country

Viettel, Vietnam’s leading telecommunications operator, has become the first in the country to launch 5G for customers.

Viettel users in Vietnam’s Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts in Hanoi can now enjoy high-speed 5G Internet without a SIM card upgrade.

“Similar to the previous universalisation of cell phones in Vietnam, Viettel, as Vietnam’s largest telecommunications and IT enterprise, will continue to pioneer the creation of a digital society,” said Major General Le Dang Dung, Chairman-cum-General Director of Viettel Group.

The company says that its 5G can reach up to 1.2 to 1.5 Gbps in speed, ten times faster than 4G, and is currently the fastest in Vietnam. This means that users are able to download a 90-minute movie in 30 seconds.

With 5G real-time connectivity, the technology is also expected to make an important contribution to remote medical examination, treatment and surgery in Vietnam.

“The cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure is a must for Industry 4.0,” he added.

Viettel’s 5G base transceiver stations use Non-Standalone Access (NSA) architecture, which is a technology that builds on 4G and allows operators to launch 5G early. 

Typically, when 5G is successfully trialled or rolled out, operators will then transition into Standalone Access (SA) technology.

NSA is also currently being used by major telcos in other countries, such as South Korea’s SK Telecom and KT, Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK.

“Viettel Group has completed the ecosystem from digital infrastructure, digital solutions, digital finance, digital content, logistics and e-commerce, so far, meeting the needs of building e-government and developing digital economy and digital society in Vietnam,” he said.

After Hanoi, Viettel’s 5G will be expanded into Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh. During the trial period, Viettel will provide unlimited 5G data free of charge.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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VMware unveils 5G cloud platform for Southeast Asia

VMware has announced its 5G Telco Cloud Platform, a new cloud-based infrastructure for communication service providers developing 5G in Southeast Asia.

5G Telco Cloud Platform will allow CSPs to leverage cloud technology to deliver apps and services across a multicloud infrastructure. While CSPs prepare to roll out 5G, VMware will help simplify and accelerate the process, enabling the swift and smooth deployment of 5G to the market.

“VMware continues to accelerate the delivery of a comprehensive telco and edge cloud portfolio that addresses our customers’ challenges of today and enables them to harness the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Sanjay K. Deshmukh, the Vice President and Managing Director of Southeast Asia and Korea at VMware.

5G Telco Cloud Platform merges the company’s telco cloud infrastructure with cloud automation solutions, giving birth to enhancements that support telco-centric operations, such as Containers as-a-Service (Caas) management automation, and zero-touch-provisioning. Hence, CSPs that use the VMware 5G Telco Cloud Platform are able to deploy 5G and undergo network expansion with carrier-grade resiliency and quality.

“With support for cloud native technologies in the Telco Cloud Platform, CSPs can now boost their innovation speed to deliver new applications and services, reduce operational complexities, and realize substantial total cost of ownership savings, further accelerating the rollout of their 5G networks to support the growth of Southeast Asia’s digital economy,” continued Mr. Deshmukh.

The VMware Telco Cloud Platform combines VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure and VMware Telco Cloud Automation, the recently launched multi-domain orchestration and automation capability.

As CSPs evolve from NFV networks to cloud native and containerized networks, VMware is evolving its VMware vCloud NFV solution to Telco Cloud Infrastructure, providing CSPs a consistent and unified platform delivering consistent operations for both Virtual Network Functions and Cloud Native Network Functions across telco networks. 

Telco Cloud Infrastructure is designed to optimise the delivery of network services with telco centric enhancements, supporting distributed cloud deployments, and providing scalability and performance for millions of consumer and enterprise users. These telco centric enhancements enable CSPs to gain web-scale speed and agility while maintaining carrier-grade performance, resiliency, and quality.

To provide further assistance to CSPs in Southeast Asia, VMware has launched a Ready for Telco Cloud program. To date, over 35 of VMware’s partners have received more than 180 certifications under the program.

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is expected to generate US$300 billion by 2025. With more and more businesses in the region working to digitally transform their operations, 5G will become a core part of many, of not all businesses. 

With businesses looking to 5G to supercharge their growth, CSPs in the region require a field proven network powered by a modernized cloud that delivers web-scale speed and agility while maintaining carrier-grade performance, resiliency, and quality.

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Tech Reporter, W.Media

CenturyLink rebrands as Lumen to light the way for enterprises in 4th Industrial Revolution

Leading global IT solutions provider CenturyLink has announced it is rebranding and repositioning the company to Lumen Technologies, or Lumen for short. 

According to FAQs on their website, the name Lumen pays homage to their global fiber network foundation and serves as a reflection of the company today. 

“Lumen is all about enabling the amazing potential of our customers, by utilizing our technology platform, our people, and our relationships with customers and partners,” said Lumen president and CEO Jeff Storey.

Lighting the way for enterprises

The company will look to help light the way for enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where smart, connective devices will be ubiquitous.

“This new age requires companies to effectively acquire, analyze and act upon their data to stay ahead of the curve and to be competitive,” said Lumen in a statement

There will be three distinct brands under the Lumen Technologies corporation: Lumen, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber. 

Lumen will serve as the company’s new brand for its largest business segment: enterprise and wholesale, which will be the company’s focus moving forward.

“The Lumen brand is focused on supporting our enterprise business customers. It alludes to our network strength and to the incredible capabilities powered by our platform to help transform how businesses operate,” according to Lumen CTO, Andrew Dugan. 

Under Lumen, the company launched the Lumen Platform, which combines their global fiber network infrastructure, edge cloud capabilities, security, communication and collaboration solutions to empower customers looking to capitalise on emerging Industry 4.0 technologies. 

“All of our futures will be driven by smart things, applications and digital services that use data for transformational purposes,” said Shaun Andrews, Lumen’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. 

The Lumen Platform will serve a range of applications across smart cities, retail and industrial robotics, real-time virtual collaboration, automated factories, as well as applications requiring high-performance networking and security.

As part of Lumen, the existing CenturyLink brand will continue to represent the company’s residential and small business segments, for legacy services delivered over traditional networks. 

Lumen also announced another new entity, Quantum Fiber, which will be considered a CenturyLink service. It is a digital platform that will aim to deliver premier fiber-based connectivity to residents and small businesses under Lumen’s fiber network and infrastructure. 

Quantum Fiber will target the same customer segment as CenturyLink, but it will be delivering services via an automated platform the company is developing, but specific roll out plans are yet to be confirmed.

The Quantum Fiber brand will eventually be available in all markets where Lumen offers fiber-based internet services.

With this announcement, the company will formally change its legal name to Lumen Technologies, Inc. upon the satisfaction of legal and regulatory requirements. 

There will be no structural change in leadership, responsibility or financial strategy. However, it will be changing its stock ticker from CTL to LUMN, effective with the opening of the trading day on September 18 2020. 

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Philippines telecom market powers through in spite of COVID-19

In April, W.Media reported that due to COVID-19, the Philippines’ newest telecom company, DITO Telecommunity, was forced to delay its launch due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fixed-line market in the Philippines is said to be underdeveloped with low penetration in the broadband market due to low investment in digital infrastructure and rapid development of mobile technologies. 

But today, the Philippines could still see a silver lining in spite of difficult circumstances, as interest in improving digital infrastructures and building new data centers is rising. 

Two of the largest telecom companies, PDLT and Globe Telecom, are making continual moves to upgrade existing infrastructure.

PDLT will continue to accelerate its network modernisation program, shifting from copper to fibre, and their subsidiary Smart Communications teamed up with Google to deploy Wi-Fi hubs across the country. 

Smart and Globe have also pledged to participate in network sharing with DITO, signalling a willingness to speed up network rollouts like 5G and break up the long-standing duopoly held by PDLT and Globe.

DITO’s entrance to the Filipino market held similar ambitions, which is why it is also predicted that market competition in the country is expected to intensify from 2021, less than four months away.

In other exciting news, a new subsea cable, JUPITER, that links the Philippines with Japan and the U.S. has gained approval from the U.S. government and will be completed by 2021.

However, the pandemic crisis has left its mark on the telecom industry, with supply chains halted and job cuts slowing down construction of infrastructures, postponing the rollout of 5G and halting consumer demand for services. 

As to how Filipino consumers would respond to market competition, a reduced but steady and positive growth is predicted. This is because COVID-19 has proven that access to general communication is crucial to live life under the ‘new normal’ where technology is needed to support home-working.

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Uncover the importance of interconnectivity with W.Media

Interconnectivity in data centers has accelerated, as the need for connected devices and digital transformation is rapidly rising.

For a region like Asia Pacific that is rapidly going digital, data center providers are working hard to design connected platforms that enable global teams to collaborate with less downtime and latency.

Register now for our ‘Interconnecting into the Future’ digital event to discover how interconnectivity can help you reach your digital transformation desires.

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Malaysia to shut down 3G by 2021, but national 5G plan may be delayed until 2022

The Malaysian Government has announced a National Digital Infrastructure Plan (JENDELA) that will put an end to 3G networks in Malaysia and prepare the country for its transition to 5G.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated the decision to eliminate 3G networks is to “strengthen the coverage of 4G networks [in Malaysia], as well as establishing a solid foundation for 5G”. This will be completed stage-by-stage until the end of 2021.

The Malaysian Government has currently rolled out phase one of JENDELA. Goals to be achieved under phase one include expanding 4G broadband coverage from 91.8% to 96.9% in populated areas, and increasing broadband speed from 25Mbps to 35Mbps.

Phase two of JENDELA will focus on the East Malaysia states of Sabah and Sarawak, where internet coverage is significantly lower than states in West Malaysia. Under the plan, Sabah and Sarawak will be the biggest beneficiaries: existing communication towers will be upgraded and hundreds of new communication transmitters will be installed.

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, unveiled an Industrial Revolution 4.0 digital road map outlining the details of phase two. Said road map is scheduled to be released in mid-September.

However, a report by research firm CGS-CIMB revealed that 5G in Malaysia is expected to be deferred to 2022 due to ‘existing uncertainties in terms of how and over what timeframe [phase two] is to be achieved’ as well as the need to prioritise optimising speed and coverage of 4G networks.

Despite the delay, this marks the beginning of an exciting turn for Malaysia’s digital economy. Malaysia’s promise to switch off 3G and welcome 5G indicates a strong commitment to assist Malaysians in overcoming the demands of working from home in the midst of a pandemic. 

The rise of 5G in Malaysia could also mean a boom in cloud services, as applications may be more accessible by users across the country, which is only more good news to the country’s fast-growing digital economy.

5G may also enable more edge data center technologies by bringing lower latency, higher reliability and faster data processing that is closer to the user. This is particularly important, as Malaysia looks to be moving closer to the edge, with new projects announced by Bitglass, GDC and Vertiv this year.

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Dramatic surge set for edge computing market, driven by industrial enterprise adoption

The multi-access edge computing market is set to grow at an incredible annual rate of 157.4%, generating US$7.23 billion by 2024, which dwarfs the 2019 revenue of US$64.1 million.

The edge computing solution from operators in wireless networks is expected to be utilised by 90% of industrial enterprises in the next three years, predicts Frost & Sullivan.

“The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them,” said Renato Pasquini, the Research Director for Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

While only being in its nascent stage, edge computing offers shorter latencies by being close to where the data originates, which also provides robust security, responsive data collection and lower operating costs.

This is particularly important in a world where industrial industries are becoming increasingly hyper-connected with growing adoption of the Internet of Things, smart factories, remote monitoring solutions, autonomous robotics and vehicles.

The demand for edge computing is also growing, as data-driven organisations and governments increasingly require significant streams of data for real-time analytics.

“Going forward, 5G and multi-access edge computing are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business segment of telecom service providers using the platform,” added Mr. Pasquini.

Within the multi-access edge computing ecosystem, software edge applications promises the highest annual growth, followed by telecom operators, infrastructure-as-a-service providers, and edge data center colocation services.

However, Frost & Sullivan identified a number of challenges restricting the growth of the market, including an underdeveloped ecosystem in different verticals, limiting the number of solutions and applications available.

The implementation of multi-access edge computing also requires heavy initial capital investment and lacks standardisation, which currently limits the number of cities that can adopt this technology.

How can you tap into the edge computing market?

The multi-access edge computing market is expected to drive new revenue-generating use cases, particularly for telcos in the application of 5G wireless technology, despite delays in the rollout of networks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To tap into this lucrative market, Frost & Sullivan made a number of suggestions. Telecom operators, for example, should work on solutions and services to meet requirements for connected and autonomous cars, which could include advancements in 5G technology.

In order to make this a reality, telecom operators are advised to partner with cloud providers and organisations like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud that work with artificial intelligence and machine learning to design autonomous cars and drone delivery. 

System integrators could also tap into 5G by providing end-to-end solutions, which the research firm noted would be a significant value addition for enterprises, as 5G requires specialised skill sets.

By combining 5G with new specialised hardware-based mobile edge computing technologies like edge routers and data centers, these solutions can meet the market’s streaming media needs, as telecom operators must address the rising consumption of high-definition video streaming on mobiles.

Frost & Sullivan urged companies in the space to capitalise on the innovation opportunities utilising 5G and multi-access edge computing, including augmented reality, virtual reality, ultra-high-definition streaming and cloud gaming.

Discover how to tap into the edge data center market with W.Media

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Globe 5G makes cloud gaming breakthrough in the Philippines

Globe Telecom has made a successful breakthrough in cloud gaming tests using its highly anticipated 5G mobile network.

In partnership with multi-cloud digital innovations company,, the tests explored the possibility of enabling gamers to play high-performance games without needing a console or high-powered computer.

“The continuous roll out of Globe 5G will not only change the way we play our favorite games, but this is also a leap to a lot of other possibilities that this technology can bring,” said Coco Domingo, Globe’s Vice President for Strategic Platforms and Partnerships.

Globe’s ultra fast 5G technology was married with cloud technology to successfully test BANDAI NAMCO’s Tekken 7 with substantially low latency and close to zero lag.

The qualities of zero lag and latency are highly sought after by players and cloud gaming providers, as any reduction in performance could lead to losing a game and a poor user experience.

Dr. Thomas King, the Chief Technology Officer at the global Internet Exchange operator, DE-CIX, said: “Considering the increasingly realistic looking graphics of current games, it is clear that enormous amounts of data have to be transported from the server to the output medium.”

When gaming takes place wholly in the cloud, it is essential that latency is kept to a minimum to ensure that services succeed with the user, especially when every millisecond counts, said Dr. King.

To achieve this, technologies like 5G and edge computing are adopted to make sure that data is processed and transported as closely to the gamers as possible.

Globe became the first mobile operator in Southeast Asia to introduce a commercially available 5G network with AirFiber in 2019 and introduced Globe 5G to customers in February 2020 with the launch of the first mobile device in The Philippines.

Earlier this year, Globe expanded their cloud portfolio with a US$4 million investment to acquire ‘substantially all assets’ of US-based premier AWS partner Cascadeo.

How will cloud gaming impact the future of game design?

As we discovered in W.Media’s first GameTech digital event, our speakers from Tencent Cloud and OVHcloud revealed the critical importance of IT infrastructure, 5G and edge data centers in enabling a cloud gaming future with almost zero latency and lag.

In our next GameTech digital event on Tuesday 27 October, we will focus on how cloud infrastructures and cloud gaming will transform the way games are designed.

Register now to explore how we can work together to create your next favourite game on the cloud!

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Globe 5G makes cloud gaming breakthrough in the Philippines


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Stuart Crowley

Editor, W.Media

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