ASEAN 5G Q1 2022 Roundup: Beginning of 5G Network Slicing and the Platform Play

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Singtel’s Paragon platform streamlines different 5G capabilities and can minimize the barriers to adoption of enterprise 5G solutions.
  • Leading providers such as Singtel and PLDT have started their initiatives on network slicing. This will enable wider enterprise 5G applications and private network solutions.

It was a slow start of the year for enterprise 5G in ASEAN, especially after strong momentum in 2021 with various industry collaborations and new feature launches (e.g., SA, MEC, private network).  There were only a few key announcements on new launches and partnerships.  Nevertheless, there were a couple of key milestones in market development in the region.  Singtel, one of the most advanced 5G providers in the region, launched an all-in-one 5G platform in the market.  This is crucial for driving enterprise adoption by streamlining diverse initiatives across various 5G capabilities such as private networks, edge computing, network slicing, and IoT.  This could also be the beginning of 5G platform plays enabling automated service provisioning and on-demand commercial models.  The second highlight is network slicing.  While the network slicing feature is still new in the market, several providers such as AIS, Singtel, and PLDT are taking a proactive approach to trials and include this feature in their 5G offerings to gain a competitive edge.  Other players are expected to build similar capabilities to close the gap in the near future.

1. Singtel Launches Paragon, an All-in-One Platform for 5G: Following Singtel’s various initiatives in enterprise 5G (e.g., MEC, GENIE, industry collaborations, field trials), the carrier launched Paragon, a unified platform that integrates 5G features such as network slicing and MEC and provides enterprises access to ecosystem partners.  The platform also includes a marketplace that connects enterprises with technology vendors, industry players, and developers.  It also provides flexibility for enterprises to develop new 5G-enabled applications based on their needs.  This can accelerate the development of the enterprise 5G market in the country.  Some early use cases include fleet management, mixed-reality and metaverse-based simulation, and warehouse management.  The initiative also puts Singtel further ahead of local competitors in the enterprise 5G market.  Moreover, Singtel can also extend Paragon to its associates in other markets such as AIS in Thailand, Globe in the Philippines, and Telkomsel in Indonesia.  (For more, please see  Singtel Unveils Paragon, an All-in-One Platform for 5G; It Now Needs Partners and Customers to Strengthen Its Case,” February 23, 2022.)

2. Smart Philippine Launches Network Slicing Trial: Smart, PLDT’s wireless arm, deployed a network slicing proof of concept in its lab.  The trial covers slicing functions across the radio, transport, and core network domains. While it is still in the trial phase, the initiative is a crucial step for PLDT to enable new and more innovative enterprise 5G use cases such as private 5G, large-scale IoT, drones, public safety, and remote healthcare.  The different quality of services through multiple slicing configurations can also enable PLDT to further monetize its 5G investment.

3. StarHub Partners with National University of Singapore (NUS) in 5G-Enabled Smart Campus: StarHub and NUS announced their collaboration to co-develop new use cases in smart campus solutions.  The collaboration will focus on leveraging the carrier’s 5G and IoT capabilities to enhance NUS’s existing operations such as smart facilities management, AR/VR applications, and immersive classrooms.  NUS is also known for its advanced research capabilities in emerging technologies such as AI and quantum computing.  This can enable StarHub to integrate its 5G solutions with NUS research capabilities.  The partnership can also drive enterprise 5G development in the education sector.

Q1 2022 saw significant developments in enterprise 5G in ASEAN.  The 5G platform by Singtel and network slicing initiatives by Smart will attract competitors and other players to step up their 5G progress to close the gap.  This will also further drive collaborations on new use cases, thus driving enterprise 5G adoption in the region.

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