SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son to step down as chairman

Masayoshi Son, billionaire founder of Japanese technology empire SoftBank, is stepping down from his role as chairman of the company.

The announcement came after a two-year deliberation where SoftBank said in a press statement that such a decision was necessary to “pass on the strengths of its current management system to future generations” and “achieve sustainable growth as a listed company”.

Current CEO Ken Miyauchi will replace Son as chairman, while Junichi Miyakawa will take over as President and CEO. Miyauchi has been with SoftBank since 1984, and is one of Son’s longest-serving lieutenants, having significantly contributed to the growth of some of Japan’s most widely-used telco and social media platforms including Y! Mobile and LINE Mobile.

Miyakawa, on the other hand, is currently CTO of SoftBank. He was previously Technical COO at Sprint Corporation (now known as T-Mobile U.S.).

One of the wealthiest men in Japan, Son is credited as the principal founder of SoftBank in 1981, which is now one of the country’s leading telcos. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the most powerful people in the world.

Son is also the main driver behind SoftBank’s iconic Vision Fund, a tech-focused venture capital that has invested in over 80 companies across Asia including Southeast Asian ride-share powerhouse Grab and workplace communication platform Slack.

Son will continue to serve as Board Director for SoftBank, effective April 1, 2021.

Vietnam’s top telco gives itself a makeover to attract young consumers

Vietnam’s leading telecommunications provider, Viettel, plans to rid itself of its ‘trustworthy but old-fashioned’ image in a bid to attract the attention of the young Vietnamese consumers.

As part of a major rebranding effort, the mobile carrier will be expanding its range of products and services, and start selling next-generation digital services, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity packages.

Viettel’s years-old orange and green logo has been replaced with a brand new, striking red icon that also symbolises the colour of Vietnam’s national flag.

According to Mr. Le Dang Dung, Acting President and General Director of Viettel Group, the launch of a new identity shows Viettel’s commitment to maintaining itself as the country’s pioneering and leading digital services provider.

The company’s slogan, originally “Say it your way”, is now “Your way”. The first two words have been truncated for a shorter slogan that conveys flexibility.

On top of that, Viettel will also be expanding its businesses into six tech-related sectors: digital infrastructure, solutions, content, financial services, cybersecurity, and research and development.

Founded in 1989 and owned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence, Viettel currently serves four out of ten Vietnamese consumers. Besides Vietnam, Viettel also provides mobile services in 11 countries including neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar, and Haiti, Peru and Tanzania.

Vietnam’s telco boom

The Vietnamese telecommunications market is a booming market with huge opportunities for local and foreign investors, amid a competitive environment and a positive economic outlook with an average growth of 6-8% GDP expected between 2020 and 2025. With already strong mobile phone penetration and emerging fixed broadband take-up in households, future growth is likely to remain solid despite an aging population over the long term.

Idem Est Research forecasts that mobile subscriptions will continue to grow in the 2019-25 period and fixed broadband subscribers will also continue to grow and increase its household penetration over the same period.

Mobile revenue is growing faster than mobile subscription numbers leading to ARPU growth as the market transitions from 2G & 3G to 4G mobile data services.

Idem Est Research expects the overall telecoms market to grow through to 2025 after a marked slow down in 2018 and 2019 due to legacy 2G voice & SMS revenue pressure partially offset by mobile data growth.

Mobile Subscribers and Revenue

In early 2020, the mobile subscriptions market just passed a tipping point with 3G and 4G subscribers exceeding 2G mobile subscriptions for the first time. Mobile network operators are facing competitive pressure with the market shifting from legacy prepaid voice and SMS to data-centric usage increasingly becoming the sole offering differentiator.

Further, the Capex to GDP ratio remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2018 but has been sliding in 2019 and is expected to remain at the same level through to 2025. Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone invested in line with revenue growth maintaining a stable Capex to Sales Ratio.

Malaysia’s Digi Telecommunications teams up with Boku to protect mobile users against cyberthreats

Malaysia’s Digi Telecommunications has teamed up with UK mobile payments and identity solutions provider Boku to protect users against cyberthreats.

Digi is the first mobile service provider in Malaysia to partner with Boku to launch mobile identity products that proactively protect its customers from cyber-hacks, account takeover attacks, SIM swap attacks, and other forms of digital fraud.

“We have in place stringent policies and procedures to ensure that our customers are safe and secure using any application online, including applying a broad set of data protection practices to safeguard their identities and prevent digital fraud such as account takeover,” said Praveen Rajan, Chief Marketing Officer of Digi.

As more companies continue to realise the necessity of advanced multi-factor authentication solutions in the wake of increased incidences of digital fraud and cyberattacks, there is a growing demand for mobile identity authentication services in Malaysia.

Digital service providers and their users are also increasingly being targeted by fraudsters who seek to extract money or other forms of stored value from accounts.

“This partnership with Boku is another layer of safety enabling our customers to have a seamless and worry-free online experience,” added Mr. Rajan.

Digi will integrate two of Boku’s services into its mobile number operations. The Phone Number Verification (Authenticate) service will request the user to verify their phone number directly on the device via its built-in wireless network connectivity. 

Next, the Reassigned Number (Detect) service will allow a merchant to check if a mobile number has been reassigned or recycled by the telecom service provider to another user.

Commenting on the partnership, Stuart Neal, Chief Business Officer for Identity at Boku, said: “We are honoured to partner with Digi to introduce a safer and more seamless digital world for mobile users in Malaysia. Extending our capabilities into Malaysia is a major milestone as we continue to expand globally.”

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Jie Yee Ong

Tech Reporter, W.Media

Japan won’t join United States in plan to bar China from telecoms networks

Japan has told the United States that they will not join Washington’s plan to bar Chinese firms from telecommunications networks.

Japan will reportedly take its own steps to respond in case there are worries over security issues, while Tokyo will continue cooperate with the United States on a resolution, according to the Yomiuri newspaper.

The US State Department published an update to the “Clean Network” plan in August, calling for telecom companies, cloud service providers, and mobile apps of Chinese origin like TikTok to be kept out of the United States. The United States is also pressing allies to bar Huawei from next generation 5G mobile phone networks on security grounds.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, mentioned the “Clean Network” plan when he met Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Tokyo in October, the Yomiuri said.

Japan told the United States that Tokyo cannot join a framework which excludes a specific nation but will reconsider if there is any change to the current US plan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, the top Government spokesman, responded to the Yomiuri report by saying his understanding was there was no exchange of views on the “Clean Network” plan during the meeting between Pompeo and Motegi, but the US explained its overall cybersecurity efforts.

“Our nation wants to continue to strengthen cooperation in the area of cybersecurity with the US,” said Secretary Kato during a news conference on Friday 16 October.

Japan will also take steps to secure cybersecurity safety by reducing supply chain risks when procuring information and communication equipment, he said.

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Stuart Crowley

Editor, W.Media

Indosat Ooredoo innovates to support Indonesia during pandemic

A few months ago, Indonesia became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia.

As the Government continues to battle the pandemic, one of the country’s main telecommunications companies, Indosat Ooredoo, prioritised innovating hybrid cloud products and upgrading Internet bandwidth to put Indonesia back in motion even during lockdown.

As Indonesia began to adapt to new habits during the ‘new normal’, Indosat Ooredoo took a supportive role to accelerate technologies, including big data, smart cities and video conferencing to resurrect Indonesia’s economy.

Back to School for Indonesia

To support the Indonesian government’s Distance Learning (PJJ) program, the telco upgraded its existing bandwidth activity by 20% to provide 56 universities better access to intellectual property from more than 200 tertiary institutions in Indonesia.

“Indosat Ooredoo decided to make a contribution in developing our nation through education. We are committed to supporting the government to strengthen the ecosystem of online learning,” said Director & Chief Operating Officer Indosat Ooredoo, Vikram Sinha.

The telco introduced a series of mobile packages to primary school, high school and university students, with a main package offering 30GB of data for a single Indonesian Rupiah, which converts to an astounding US$0.000068.

The Director General of Higher Education, Professor Nizam, thanked Indosat Ooredoo for their contribution to Indonesia’s education sector: “We highly appreciate the concern and the effort Indosat Ooredoo has taken to help college students by providing affordable internet packages.”

With these affordable data packages, it is almost certain that data consumption will continue to rise in the country, requiring reliable digital infrastructures to manage this. To support this demand, tech giants and data center players like Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, SpaceDC and NTT are making moves into the country.

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Is cloud hosting right for your business?

Hosting websites and applications on the cloud is becoming a popular choice for businesses, as it is believed to offer greater flexibility and speed in scalability as well as reliable uptime to keep your services live even if a server goes down.

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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!

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Globe 5G makes cloud gaming breakthrough in the Philippines


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Stuart Crowley

Editor, W.Media

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