The Age of the Full-Service Carrier – Southeast Asian Carriers Invest in Broadband Construction
Carriers worldwide have already begun to consider FMC – whether version 1.0 (fixed broadband, mobile broadband, and convergence) or 2.0 (fixed broadband, mobile broadband, and content) – to be a necessary key strategy for transforming the industry.
FMC 2.0 Development Around the World
Competition, services, and policy have led to rapid development in the worldwide broadband industry, and many carriers have already created or implemented full-service business strategies and are actively involved in FMC 2.0. Telefónica's Fusion service, Vodafone's Unified Service Strategy, and MTN Group's "Fiber-Radio-TV" three-year plan are all examples of carrier movement towards FMC 2.0. South Korea and Japan, world leaders in the telecom field, have embraced these changes: the three mobile carriers and five fixed carriers originally comprising the South Korean market have been combined into three full-service carriers; and the Japanese government, after seeing the success of KDDI's integrated "au Smart" service, allowed NTT to link its fixed and mobile services.
These transformations may come from competition among carriers, or outside competition from OTT; they may be driven by new government policy or restricted by income growth. Many newer carriers have put forth the slogan "no fiber, no future," and the rapid development of 4K video services has shown the importance of "content" as well.
As users' specific requirements for 4K video continue to increase and the cost of 4K devices continues to fall, the trend will be toward having multiple 4K devices in a single household, and basic 4K service will require 30 to 50 Mbps of bandwidth. For this reason, 100 Mbps and even 1 Gbps to the home will become basic requirements for home broadband in the future. 4K video will show the full value of ultra-broadband service and make fixed broadband networks irreplaceable. We can see that FMC 2.0 has already become the new normal in carrier business development.
Telecom Development in Southeast Asia
ICT has developed relatively slowly in Southeast Asia. According to the 2015 Global ICT Development Index published by the ITU, the average index value for countries in the region (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, and the Philippines) was 3.3 – lower than the world average of 4.2 – and no countries were included in the top 100 rankings. This is why actively responding to transformations in worldwide industry development and changing trends is of the utmost importance to Southeast Asian carriers. Indeed, many early adopters have already taken action.
Mobile Carriers Largely Invest in Fixed Broadband
Viettel, Vietnam's largest mobile network operator, has planned an all-around fiber strategy to develop the country's broadband market, and AIS in Thailand is moving towards fixed networks with its gigabit to the home, UHD video, and smart home service packages. India's Reliance Jio plans to have fiber to the home coverage for over 1 million homes in India's 50 largest cities this year, and Idea Cellular has established new departments focused on creating a broadband development strategy. Sri Lankan carrier Dialog is developing fixed broadband services based on fiber and LTE while maintaining its leading position in mobile services.
Fixed Carriers Respond by Quickly Improving Networks
Traditional carriers, dealing mainly in fixed network services, face the grim reality that ADSL upstream bandwidth in Southeast Asia rarely exceeds 10 Mbps. To stay competitive, they have sped up their reconstruction of copper networks while also beginning FTTx projects. This is intended to promote development in the regional broadband market and increase the pace of fixed network modernization. In Thailand, Triple T Broadband's impressive performance in the copper network market led to rapid development of FTTx and 4G in 2015, and True implemented megabit copper while building new fiber. PCCW in Hong Kong carried out a G.fast pilot project, and Vietnam's VNPT upgraded copper to fiber in Hanoi while increasing copper speeds in other cities. Indian telecom company BSNL has actively invested in government projects such as the Digital India initiative and the Smart Cities Mission, and hopes that these projects will benefit the company in its development and improve its business.
With these transformations in the carrier industry, the national governments of Southeast Asian countries are working hard to promote the development of ultra-broadband. Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka all took part in a 2014 ITU conference in Busan, at which they agreed to reach the Connect 2020 goals set by the ITU. The governments of each country have begun planning their ICT strategies and promoting national broadband construction. In general, carriers' relying solely on fixed services or mobile services for commercial success has already become a thing of the past. For Southeast Asian carriers, increasing investment in fixed broadband and making use of proactive government policy to become full-service carriers is the only choice for maintaining competitive advantage. Huawei has been actively investing in experience-centered FMC 2.0 fixed/ mobile UBB solutions over a long period of time, and has assisted in carriers' differentiated development in business, network construction, and O&M. Huawei is committed to growing full-service carrier business and to creating with carriers a flourishing broadband market in Southeast Asia.
Note: The ICT Development Index (IDI), published by the ITU, is a reflection of a country's overall level of ICT development. The index takes 11 different elements into account, including ICT infrastructure, use, level of knowledge, environment and effectiveness, and consumption. Specifically, these include data such as number of households with computers, number of Internet users, level of related knowledge, and so on. It is a method by which an overall evaluation of ICT development in different countries around the world can be made.