ASEAN 5G Q3 2021 Roundup: Competition Heats Up

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • The domestic competitions across ASEAN are heating up as providers are moving from network deployment to the solution development stage.
  • Leading providers are starting to commercialize their edge computing services and gain a first-mover advantage.

The enterprise 5G market in ASEAN is moving from network deployment to the solution development stage, led by early adopters such as the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.  Most telcos in these countries such as Globe, PLDT, M1, Singtel, Starhub, and AIS have enabled 5G standalone (SA) networks to support a wider range of enterprises applications through edge integration, lower latency, and network slicing.  The competition at the country level is also heating up, as providers are beginning to commercialize the solutions they have been developing through industry collaborations.  This includes Singtel’s edge computing and AIS’ 5G smart manufacturing solutions.  Service providers are also expanding their collaboration initiatives with enterprises from across verticals and are expected to launch more applications in the market in the near term.  AIS and Globe are Singtel’s associates; hence, the three providers could also gain an advantage in 5G solution development in their respective markets through knowledge and partner sharing.

1. [September & October 2021] Globe and Smart (PLDT) launched 5G SA network: Globe launched 5G (SA) in late September while Smart enabled its SA network about a week later.  The launches of the 5G SA move the Philippine market to the next phase of technology development as it can enable various new enterprise applications through features such as network slicing, edge computing integration, and even lower latency.  The increase in competition between the two leading players is also expected to further drive the ecosystem and co-creation of new use cases across different verticals.

2. [September 2021] Singtel added multi-access edge computing (MEC) to its portfolio: Following the partnership with Azure and AWS on MEC early this year, Singtel added MEC capability as part of its hybrid infrastructure offerings to address critical applications that require high security and a low-latency network.  The provider also offers its own MEC solution along with the hyperscalers’ services to provide wider options in the market and address the diverse infrastructure preferences of enterprises.  The launch is a significant step in the enterprise 5G market development as it will drive commercial deployments of new applications.

3. [September 2021] Maxis partners with a local airport to co-develop new applications: Malaysian telcos are starting to drive their 5G initiatives again as the launch nears.  Maxis has partnered with Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad to co-create several use cases at the country’s main international airport, KLIA.  The initiative includes smart travel, smart tourism, smart retail, and security.  This partnership is also expected to attract other players to expand their industry initiatives as well as more enterprises to explore and co-develop 5G solutions.  However, there could be potential challenges such as the integration with the single wholesale 5G network and frequency bands.  For more, please see 5G War Begins Again in Malaysia as Launch Nears,” September 24, 2021.

4. [September 2021] AIS commercialized its 5G smart manufacturing solutions: After various partnerships and initiatives in developing 5G applications in manufacturing, AIS commercialized its 5G smart manufacturing solutions through collaborations with Mitsubishi Electric and TKK.  The solution focuses on four high-impact use cases (remote monitoring, remote maintenance, remote development, and remote service) that enable manufacturers to address their primary business challenges.  The launch also shows AIS’ capability to integrate different technologies from multiple vendors to develop new solutions tailored for the market needs.  For more, please see AIS Commercializes 5G Smart Manufacturing Solutions in Thailand, Extending Its Market Leadership in the Country,” August 9, 2021.

5. [July 2021] dtac Thailand deployed private 5G trial network: dtac is collaborating with AWS to leverage the latter’s solution (AWS Snowball Edge) to deploy its trial private 5G network.  The initiative includes a standalone private 5G network as well as integrated deployment with a public 4G and 5G network.  dtac is still behind AIS and True in 5G coverage and industry initiatives, but this trial is important for the provider to close the competitive gap as well as further drive the development of the enterprise 5G market in the country.

Related reports:

ASEAN 5G Q2 2021 Roundup: Wider Industry Collaborations Driving Enterprise 5G Ecosystem July 9, 2021

ASEAN 5G Q1 2021 Roundup: More Edge Computing and Private Network Developments,” April 13, 2021

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