Telcos must be customer-centered, not product-centered – AsiaInfo

Shanghai, China: Telecommunication companies will be facing tougher competition in the next five years as a result of digitalization of people’s lifestyles, making it imperative for these companies to evolve as the market changes, the head of global IT software solutions and service provider AsiaInfo said.

“We need to provide crucial services for customers. We have to evolve into the future,” AsiaInfo chairman Edward Tian said in a speech on Wednesday at the Mobile World Congress here organized by the GSM Association. For this reason, telecommunication companies should start shifting from being a product-centered operator to a customer-centered operator, Tian said.

“You have to feel the pulse of your customers,” he said. Tian noted how ride-booking application Uber and board-and-lodging applications are able to accommodate customers’ needs through the use of telecommunications despite the absence of a physical central office.

Citing another example, Tian said, “Airbnb is an operator which knows the customers’ needs. Uber does not have a physical structure but they know your need.”

“We should not undervalue the traditional telco operator, but we should be able to connect with each other,” he said. Tian encourages these companies to change their mindset as the world changes.

“We need to provide crucial customers for services. We have to evolve into the future,” he said.

Although Filipinos have adapted to the shifting digital landscape and continuously changing apps, such as book-riding and online shopping, slow internet connection remains a problem in the Philippines. According to the UN Broadband Commission, the Philippines, compared with its global peers, has ranked 110th in terms of fixed broadband market penetration, 89th in mobile broadband penetration, 64th in percentages of households with internet, and 111th in percentages of individuals with internet. However, the government recently established the Department of Information and Communication Technology to address growing issues of slow internet connection through the National Broadband Plan.

Aside from the department’s efforts to make free Wifi available nationwide, starting on the main EDSA thoroughfare, the department said the Philippines also aims to have a minimum of 2.0 mbps for an entry-level broadband connection to the internet and provide at least 10 mbps to cover households by 2020.

NGCP to support govt broadband program

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said it is supporting the government’s national
broadband plan. NGCP, the country’s sole system grid operator, has been in close coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Energy (DoE) for a possible partnership to bring high-speed internet nationwide.

“Talks began as early as 2012 when we started exploring the broadband potential of our facilities with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which was the lead agency for the project at that time. Under the current administration, talks have been ongoing for the past six months,” NGCP President and CEO Henry Sy, Jr. said on Wednesday.

“We’ve given the DICT and DoE all the information they need to put this project forward. We’ve informed them that the current transmission facility will be able to support the broadband network envisioned by the government.

NGCP’s wide fiber optic network and related resources are sufficient to support this priority program under the Duterte administration. We are just waiting for details from our government partners,” Sy added. He also dismissed the allegation of the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), owner of transmission lines, that “there are communication facilities which are installed in the transmission building without TransCo’s permission, and that the same constitutes a violation of our Concession Agreement.”

“This is not true. Our Concession Agreement specifically allows us to develop the transmission facility and engage in any business which maximizes the utilization of the transmission assets. Any statement to the contrary is unfair and does not reflect the true state of affairs,” Sy said.

NGCP has thousands of existing fiber optic facilities that run from Luzon to Mindanao. NGCP is ready to lease these fiber optic lines to the government in its efforts to upgrade the country’s internet speed and thus shorten the amount of time needed to complete the project, Sy said. Despite ranking last in average connection speed in the Asia-Pacific region on Akamai’s fourth quarter report, the Philippines has shown promising improvements with a 44 percent increase from the previous year.

“NGCP fully supports the government’s efforts in creating a national broadband plan for the Philippines. We look forward to seeing DICT’s plans come into fruitition as having a stable internet connection is now a very important productivity tool, and keeps the whole country connected,” NGCP stated. NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid.

It is led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr.

and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.