Exploring Opportunities Together: Delmec Hosts Webinar on SE Asian Market

At Delmec, synergy shapes success, and that means working with and learning from a wide variety of colleagues across the global telecoms industry. One such opportunity arose on the 12th May, when we organised a webinar on the ‘Opportunities and Challenges in the SE Asian Market’.

The discussions focused on the findings of the 2022 Delmec SE Asian Telecom Sector Survey, which revealed key insights into the rapid digitisation, shifting infrastructure and improved government support in the region. In hosting this webinar, we sought to further explore the survey responses, learning from each other about how to adapt to challenges and seize opportunities in the SE Asia telecommunications landscape.

The attendees were globally-located, dialling in from towerco, MNO and investor offices across Asia, Europe and Africa. They were all keen to hear from some of the industry’s most authoritative voices, including Charles C (Chuck) Green III, the co-founder and former executive chairman of Helios Towers and Delmec advisory board member, Thiru Nadarasa, the Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Sri Lanka and Damien Kelly, Head of Innovation and Engineering at Delmec.

“The discussion was well rounded, with each panellist drawing from exceptional experience in their field,” says Damien, pointing out that the speakers all came from diverse backgrounds. “Chuck offered an insight into the towerco perspective, Thiru provided the voice of MNOs, while I spoke for service providers like Delmec.” Mohan Villavarayan, our Asia Regional Business Manager, served as moderator, expertly guiding the group through the various topics within the allocated time.

He opened the discussions with a hot topic: digitisation. The Delmec survey revealed that 50% of tower owners in SE Asia have already digitised their portfolios, although it was agreed during the webinar that the meaning of the term ‘digitisation’ can vary depending on the location, sector or team involved. However, with 82% of survey participants prioritising digitalisation, the next five years will see significant progress across the board. “It’s the vital cog that will facilitate the realisation of the diverse goals and objectives of all tower owners,” Mohan says. “But it’s important to bear in mind that the accrued benefits must justify the costs.”

It was encouraging to hear that the survey results were largely confirmed by the panellists, who agreed with Delmec’s findings. “Both survey feedback and panel discussion aligned in terms of infrastructure and trends, as well as the future of the industry,” Damien points out. “The focus for us all will be on connectivity, ESG and costs.”

Mohan further explains that these connectivity needs of TSPs – fuelled by the spike in demand for high data throughputs in hitherto under-served areas – will drive the shape and size of infrastructure required to host the radio access networks. “The survey shows that a significant shift is expected towards next-gen infrastructure that is both environment-friendly and blends into the surrounding landscape,” he says. For Delmec, as well as the industry as a whole, this means striking a balance between providing ever-more connectivity via ever-smarter infrastructure.

One key driver identified in the push to provide increased data connectivity is government support. Mohan agrees, saying that “governments and their regulatory bodies actively facilitating the roll-out of national fibre networks will go a long way towards meeting the demand dynamics in the different SE Asian countries.”

As the session was closing, attention turned to future regulation of technological advances. The contributors felt that a pan-European or even global framework would be too ambitious to realise, but key elements of collaboration and cooperation could still be achieved. Some contributors felt that it would be better if regulators adhered to their core purpose and allowed TSPs and market dynamics to create a more natural path of progression. “With service providers increasingly designing technology-based roadmaps for the future, regulators should be freed up to focus more on ensuring high standards across the board,” says Damien.

Setting, achieving and maintaining those high standards is our focus here in Delmec, which is why we’ll continue to survey our communities and host discussions like this with our colleagues. By combining our experience, skills and valuable industry insights, we can extend and improve our service offering, ensuring that we are there to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Together, we will facilitate digitisation, develop improved infrastructure, support technological advances and build a more connected future in the SE Asian region.

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