Australia's Telecommunications Leaders
Executives: David Thodey, CEO; Michael Rocca, COO; John Stanhope, CFO
ASX Code: TLS
Market Capitalization: $32.6 billion
Australia’s telecommunications sector has one standout heavyweight—Telstra. It has become the most widely held stock by Australian investors, and is the largest provider of both local and long distance telephone services, mobile services, dialup, wireless, DSL and cable internet access in the nation.
What can we expect from this telecommunications giant in 2011? Telstra CEO David Thodey unveiled “Project New” in 2010, which detailed the strategy and company program to grow market share, simplify company processes, reduce operating costs and improve customer service. The self-funding program involves 500 employees implementing 27 programs to reduce spending on third parties, improve Telstra’s online customer service, improve field workforce productivity, simplify prices and reduce the company’s operating costs.
“There is growing momentum in the business as customers respond positively to the initiatives we have taken over the past nine months including the introduction of competitive bundled offers, better value broadband plans, and devices like T-HubTM and T-BoxTM,” Thodey said.
Thodey also provided a detailed breakdown of a $1 billion investment to fund the strategy to grow, which aims to meet growing demand for mobile phone handsets, T-BoxTM and T-HubTM devices, develop new digital services for business customers, fund new network applications and services, conduct additional promotion and advertising, and simplify company systems.
Telecom New Zealand
Executives: Paul Reynolds, CEO; Nick Olson, CFO
ASX Code: TEL
Market Capitalization: $2.98 billion
Telecom is New Zealand's largest telecommunications service provider, and touches almost every New Zealander through the range of products and services it provides. The company employs almost 7,000 people in New Zealand and around 1,600 more in Australia and around the world. Telecom is now made up of five customer-facing businesses: Chorus; Telecom Wholesale & International; Telecom Retail; Gen-i and AAPT.
Last August, Telecom said it will be able to hold a shareholder vote on a possible demerger by the middle of 2011 if it’s selected as a partner in a national broadband plan. The government is planning a NZ$1.5 billion nationwide fiber-optic network and is weighing bids from potential partners, and Vodafone Group Plc and New Zealand’s electricity distributor, Vector Ltd., are among companies in 15 groups that have submitted proposals to take part. Telecom is seeking to be the government’s sole partner in the network’s development, arguing it already has much of the infrastructure in place.
Vodafone Hutchinson Australia
Executives: Nigel Dews, CEO
ASX Code: n/a
Market Capitalization: $1.4 billion
In Australia, Vodafone is operated by Vodafone Hutchison Australia, a 50/50 joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc and Hutchison 3G Australia. In 2010, there were 6.3 million Vodafone Hutchison Australia customers in Australia.
VHA said in 2010 that it has plans to consolidate the 3 and Vodafone networks, in an attempt to compete with Telstra’s Next G network, which covers an estimated 99 percent of the population. The plan includes the expansion of UMTS 900/2100 coverage in 900 metropolitan sites and 500 outer metropolitan sites across Australia, an end to the 3GIS network. It will also roll out 1400 UMTS 850 base stations - UMTS 850 being the same frequency on which the Next G network operates on. VHA has spent $550 million on the project so far.
The company said many initiatives would be completed in 2011 and when it was able to connect to the NBN there would be further opportunities for “network expansion and new services.”
Executives: Paul O’Sullivan, CEO; Murray King, CFO
ASX Code: SGT (Singapore Telecommunications)
Market Capitalization: $964 million
Following Telstra, Optus is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications. Optus owns and operates its own network infrastructure, but also uses the services of other network service providers, like Telstra. It provides services both directly to end users and also acts as a wholesaler to other service providers. Through its OptusNet brand, it provides broadband, wireless and dial-up internet services.
Optus also owns brands, such as Alphawest in the ICT services sector, Virgin Mobile Australia and Boost Mobile in the mobile telephone market and Uecomm in the network services market.
In 2010, income at Optus rose 5 percent to $610 million, helped by the strongest mobile-phone customer growth in five years. Optus said the pace of decline in fixed-line services has slowed as businesses resume expansion after the global recession.
Why Alibaba Cloud is doubling down in Southeast Asia
Alibaba has announced expansion of its cloud business within Southeast Asia, with the introduction of a digital upskilling programme for locals alongside acceleration of its data centre openings.
This doubling down of its cloud business in Southeast Asia comes as the company faces stiff competition at home in China from rivals including Pinduoduo Inc and Tencent and seeks to up its game in a region considered to be the fastest-growing in cloud adoption to compete with leading global cloud providers AWS, Google and Microsoft.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and second biggest revenue driver after its core e-commerce business, finally turned profitable for the first time in the December 2020 following 11 years of operation, thanks largely to the pandemic which has spurred businesses and consumers to get online.
Southeast Asia growing demand for cloud
In 2020, there was a noticeable increase in interest towards cloud in SE Asia, with the population embracing digital transformation during the pandemic and SMEs across the region showing increased demand for cloud computing.
Such demand has led to the expectation that Southeast Asia is now the fastest-growing adopter of cloud computing with the cloud market expected to reach US$40.32bn in Southeast Asia by 2025 according to IDC.
And there are plenty of players vying for a slice of the cloud pie. While AWS, the cloud arm of Amazon, is the leading player in Southeast Asia (and across all of APAC apart from China), Microsoft and Google are the next two most dominant players in Southeast Asia with Alibaba coming in fourth.
“There is no doubt that during the past year we have seen the acceleration of digital transformation efforts across all industries,” explains Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. “Asia now accounts for 60% of the world’s growth and is leading the global recovery with the digitalization of business models and economies. Cloud will continue to be a core foundation empowering the realization of Asia’s ambitions, enabling co-innovation across industries, government and community, to drive inclusive societal progress.”
Alibaba’s commitment to Southeast Asia
At its annual Alibaba Cloud Summit, the Chinese company announced Project AsiaForward, an initiative designed to upskill local developers, small-to-medium-sized companies and connect businesses with venture capital. Alibaba said it would set aside US$1bn over the next three years to develop digital skills in the region, with the aim of helping to develop 100,000 developers and to help grow 100,000 tech startups.
But that’s not all. The company, which recently opened its third data centre in Indonesia, serving customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services, also announced it would unveil its first data centre in the Philippines by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, that it would establish its first international innovation centre, located in Malaysia, offering a one-stop shop platform for Malaysian SMEs, startups and developers to innovate in emerging technologies.
“We are seeing a strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. As the leading cloud service provider and trusted partner in APAC, we are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure,” says Jeff Zhang, President, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
What other cloud providers are pledging in the region
This pledge by Alibaba to upskill both individuals and businesses follows Microsoft’s announcement in April that it was planning to upskill Malaysia’s population and would invest US$1bn over the next five years to build a new data centre centre in Malaysia.
This is the latest in a long line of pledges to the region by the US tech giant, which is fast accelerating the growth of its cloud datacenter footprint in Asia, expanding form seven 11 markets, and recently adding three new markets across Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Back in February, it announced plans to establish its first datacenter region in Indonesia and to skill an additional 3 million Indonesians to achieve its goal of empowering over 24 million Indonesians by the end of 2021.
And recent research by IDC shows that Microsoft’s most recent datacenter expansions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan alone are set to generate more than US$21bn in new revenues and will create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years.
Also last month, Tencent announced it has launched internet data centres in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo to add to its second availability zone opened in Korea last year and plans to add an internet data center in Indonesia, and Google has also been pushing into the enterprise space in Southeast Asia for several years now.
Expanding data centers allows cloud providers to boost their capacity in certain countries or regions.