Empowering Networks Through Strategic Partnerships And Diversification

In an interview with TIME dotCom’s EVP of Wholesale, Ganesh Sivasamboo, we explore the vital role that telco partnerships play. From expanding networks to enhancing customer experience and bridging the digital gap, these alliances are driving the telco industry towards a more connected, integrated, and innovative future in ASEAN and beyond.

What are the reasons behind Time’s significant investments in expanding its network across ASEAN, as highlighted in a recent article?

ASEAN, with approximately 664 million people, is the third-largest economy in Asia, and the fifth largest globally, right after the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that ASEAN’s five key countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, will surpass advanced economies with a projected 4.3% growth in 2023 and 4.6% in 2024, setting the stage for a digital renaissance in ASEAN.

Southeast Asia’s digital economy has been spurred by data-driven organisations, accelerating digital services, autonomous operations, seamless customer experiences, and supply chain modernisation, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Together, these elements foster sustainable, equitable, and inclusive growth. Cloud technology plays a vital role, accelerating adoption to support business expansion. The dynamic landscape has birthed the rise of technology startups such as Grab, Lazada, and Gojek, steering the region into a thriving digital economy.

Notably, nearly half of the population, made up of those under 30, is driving technology adoption. Their influence continues to shape the ongoing digital transformation.

In response to this evolving landscape, Time has strategically forged partnerships into ASEAN, with a focus on expanding connectivity. This strategic move aims to meet the evolving demands of local telcos, major over-the-top (OTT) platforms, and large enterprises. Time’s commitment extends to delivering a seamless, end-to-end network ecosystem that offers real-time monitoring and rapid service deployment for mission-critical applications. These initiatives enhance regional connectivity, establishing Time at the forefront of driving ASEAN’s digital transformation, fostering connectivity, innovation, and economic growth in the region.

What role do telco partnerships play in expanding connectivity and meeting market demands in ASEAN?

The telco landscape is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by technological advancements, regulatory shifts, and evolving business models. In this rapidly evolving sector, innovations like AI, automation, cloud computing, virtualisation, Wi-Fi 6, small satellite constellations, Internet of Things (IoT) networks, and 6G networks are reshaping the industry.

Collaborations among telcos offer a multitude of advantages. Together, they broaden the expansion of the network ecosystem, opening doors to new revenue streams and broader market reach. This synergy strengthens competitiveness and creates cross-border opportunities, streamlines supply chain activities, and enhances connectivity across ASEAN nations. These efforts align with the vision outlined in the AEC 2025 blueprint, emphasising greater regional economic growth and digital integration

How can telcos collaborate effectively to harness mutual benefits and drive positive change?

A great shift is taking place where telcos unite to revolutionise connectivity on a global scale, creating a seamless network that offers customers a unified experience, no matter where they are in the world.

As this network expands rapidly, our strategic partnerships with local providers in ASEAN allows extensive infrastructure ownership that stretches far beyond our national borders. Telcos can leverage each other’s extensive networks and holistic solutions, to build the ideal infrastructure for next generation networks. This isn’t just about accessing new markets; it’s also about making the services we offer even better, whether you’re a local customer or you’re on the other side of the world. Together, we embark on a transformative journey towards enhanced connectivity and innovation

How are these regional partnerships designed to ensure mutual benefits while enhancing customer experience in a different geographic context?

Time adopts a holistic approach to partnerships, considering the unique needs and regulatory contexts of our partner’s customer base. We tailor services and solutions to cater to these specific markets, creating a win-win situation where both our partners and their customers can enjoy the advantages of our expertise.

We are able to support network and business expansion beyond Malaysia and into the Southeast Asian region, directly contributing to the economic growth in the ASEAN region as the result of multiple strategic partnerships that we have forged, as evidenced by Time’s A-Grid network. The integration of subsea and terrestrial cable networks ensures high bandwidth capacity to meet the requirements of enterprise and carrier networks. Our network assets comprising both local and international submarine cable systems, enhances customer experience by providing robust, efficient, and high-capacity connectivity.

Could you share instances of a successful international partnership or acquisition that has expanded your network reach while improving customer experiences?

Time’s strategic investments in Thailand and Vietnam, along with our dedication to meeting local requirements and delivering on-ground support, have expanded our network reach is a great example of how we have extended our network reach into the Indo-China region.

This has enabled access into the region for customers, ensuring they stay connected regardless of their location. Faster data speeds, reduced latency, and improved network reliability are achieved through collaborations or acquisitions that integrate advanced technologies or infrastructure, resulting in a seamless user experience. With strategic investments and local offices in ASEAN, vital on-the-ground support is provided for businesses looking to set up operations swiftly and seamlessly. This facilitates local operations and opens doors for global businesses to tap into the vast potential of the ASEAN market, establishing their presence and connecting with the region’s growing consumer base.

In 2022, significant milestones were achieved through collaborations with Telin and NTC Asia Limited, leading to the extension of network coverage to their customers and the enhancement of digital infrastructure across the Asia Pacific. These partnerships addressed the growing market demands for reliable and secure connectivity in ASEAN.

This year, we joined forces with Symphony Communication Thailand and Starhub Singapore to facilitate end-to-end integrated services along the Bangkok-Singapore Direct Route, signifying a unified commitment to address the growing demand for over-the-top (OTT) services in the current digital landscape. 

A similar collaboration happened quite recently with Zenlayer to explore potential opportunities in extending services to ASEAN and globally, in support of customers’ digitalisation journey.

As the leader of Time’s Wholesale business, how has the role of regional and international partnerships evolved, especially in the face of increased competition and other market challenges?

In today’s interconnected world, these partnerships are becoming increasingly pivotal. They empower us to deliver holistic global solutions to our customers. As our network expands and fosters greater interconnectivity, the end-customers will experience seamless services, a broader array of options, and an elevated digital experience. It’s a testament to the transformative power of these partnerships in shaping the future of telecommunications.

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