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At Asia Tech Singapore 2022, NCS Telco+ signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) announcing its partnership with Advanced Info Service (AIS) to address the telco’s digital transformation needs, as well as those of enterprises in Thailand. In an interview with Telecom Review Asia Pacific, Sami Luukkonen, Managing Partner of NCS Telco+, offered insights on the latest partnership and ways to scale transformation in the region.

In the telecom industry, digital transformation and 5G deployments are accelerating in tandem to deliver greater value to customers. In Thailand, for instance, where the government has rolled out Thailand 4.0 as a national digital transformation initiative, the telecom industry is well-positioned to transform from within and serve as the backbone for digital progress across industries.

Aligned with the nation’s digital ambition, Thailand’s leading telco Advanced Info Service (AIS) has formally embarked on a digitalisation journey with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NCS Telco+, a joint venture between Singtel and NCS, to help the telco transform business operations, capture value from data and drive applications of 5G.

NCS Telco+ and AIS Partner to Drive Transformation

Officiated by Sami Luukkonen, Managing Partner of NCS Telco+, and Tanapong Ittisakulchai, AIS Chief Enterprise Business Officer, the MoU seals the start of a partnership for NCS Telco+ to support AIS’ transformation journey. This partnership is also part of NCS Telco+ strategy to expand in the Asia Pacific and enable telco enterprises across the Singtel Group to scale with digitalisation.

“Our partnership with AIS marks our entry into the Thai market and an opportunity to bring our domain knowledge and expertise in designing and implementing 5G and IoT solutions, enterprise cloud services platforms and automation services to AIS and its enterprise customers. NCS Telco+ will help improve their operational efficiencies by leveraging data-driven insights, and deliver enhanced customer experiences,” Luukkonen commented.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Luukkonen shared three key strategies for telcos to yield 5G success and digital transformation in a digital economy.

“The first is driving differentiation through network leadership. Telcos can look into optimising the existing network to roll out 5G as affordably and effectively as possible, leveraging previous network investments for ecosystem partners to derive value from capabilities such as network slicing, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Luukkonen said, “The second strategy is monetising 5G through B2B use cases, even if it means generating small revenue streams at first.”

Citing advanced 5G markets where telcos scale and replicate use cases with much success across industry verticals such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, mining and logistics, Luukkonen shared that other telcos should similarly bring viability to 5G investments to grow. Finally, telcos have to focus on developing 5G consumers’ use cases with faster time-to-market.

With this understanding, NCS Telco+ envisions co-creating an industry comprising “digital telcos”.

“This requires telcos to invest in technology, and rely on decoupled digital architecture for backend efficiency and quicker rollout of new services,” Luukkonen said. “In addition, digital companies must optimise data-driven insights to gain a competitive edge over digital-native companies.”

Beyond network capabilities, telcos should embrace a culture focused on delivering seamless digital consumer experiences and meaningful touchpoints, supported by a pool of digital talents. Luukkonen also stressed that telcos should work collaboratively with regulators to unleash the full potential of valuable spectrum resources and massive data to deliver greater value in the long run.

Doing so enables telcos to expand their product offering and scale them, monetise data and utilize insights from customers to better offer experience-centric services, Luukkonen opined.

For instance, AIS’ transformation will provide a marked improvement in the speed and accuracy of key processes including the onboarding of new customers, ensuring seamless operations and issue resolution, as well as offering greater convenience with broader self-service options. It will also enhance AIS’ employee competencies via talent development and training programmes, and drive AIS’ internal capabilities as a cognitive telco.

NCS Telco+ draws on NCS’ digital capabilities, as well as unique offerings of Singtel’s Paragon – a 5G MEC platform that enables network slicing on demand for enterprise 5G use cases – to help AIS reduce tech costs and complexity, accelerate the time to market for new products and create new revenue streams. Together, NCS Telco+ and AIS will jointly pursue projects in 5G and IoT transformation, cloud and cybersecurity to drive transformation for enterprises in Thailand.

Leveraging AIS’ market leadership and connectivity in Thailand, NCS Telco+ will provide a full suite of end-to-end enterprise solutions in the country. This signals more partnerships in the pipeline as NCS Telco+ joins hands with regional telcos to transform and scale digitalisation, Luukkonen noted.

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