5 mins

The four topics everyone was talking about

The annual Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference took place once again in Hawaii this week, where around 2,500 telecoms professionals came together to share the opportunities and challenges for the wholesale, carrier and OTT industries in the Asia-Pacific region for 2017 and beyond.

After spending time meeting with customers, partners and industry leaders, I’m going to share the common themes from these discussions, and what Telstra is doing in these areas to empower its carrier and OTT partners.

Agility in every aspect of business

The talk around digital disruption over the past few years has steadily moved on from the focus on the risks, to how to take advantage of the new opportunities being created.

Those I spoke to about digital disruption agreed that speed and agility were going to be vital to their success as digital transformation continues to dominate the business operating environment. To this end, customers increasingly want solutions and capabilities on an ‘as-a-Service’ basis with flexible contracting so they can take advantage of new technologies, scale quicker and compete more effectively.

These business imperatives are prompting a re-evaluation of how wholesale telcos work with customers to provide services – and we are working on an innovative new approach to meet this challenge.

Resilience

Without access to reliable connectivity, applications and public cloud services, firms risk disappointing customers and losing business. Efforts to increase network resilience are especially important in the Asia-Pacific region where natural disasters such as earthquakes, fishing activity and the large volume of international shipping in relatively shallow waters can damage subsea network cables.

This is why at PTC we announced the first ever ‘Always On’ service guarantee that will provide assured resiliency across the busy Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan triangle for customers with large capacity requirements. The scale and diversity of our network means we are uniquely placed to offer one primary path and two protection paths over different cable systems along the same route. While it can take weeks – or even months in extreme cases – to repair a damaged subsea cable, our customers will be re-routed in a matter of hours initially, and with automation we expect to bring this down to a few minutes in the future.

Improving user experiences

The sessions and conversations at PTC hammered home that carrier markets are fiercely competitive. So it is essential that carriers stand out from the pack by offering great customer experiences, and to do so, they need their wholesale providers to provide world-class service.

We have made improving the experience we deliver to our customers a strategic priority, backed by significant investment. While there is still room for improvement, we are making good progress. For example, we have significantly reduced incident response times and we have a program of work in place to simplify the way customers do business with us. We have also enhanced our pricing system to make it quicker and easier for customers to cost services and plan their own investment.

Making it in China

As it has been for several years, China is still the market many international firms want to crack. For Telstra, our involvement in China goes back many years and is a key part of our regional strategy.

Our PBS joint venture is going from strength to strength. We have invested heavily in upgrading the IP VPN network to meet the standards we set for a ‘Telstra-grade’ network. And we are going to support demand from customers who want high quality, fast and scalable internet services in China by introducing our Global Internet Direct solution to the domestic market this year.

So long Hawaii, until PTC’18

Everything I heard and saw at PTC this year convinced me that the industry is in a good place to tackle the global challenges of digital transformation. We are committed to helping our customers on their transformation journeys, and with our continuing investment in market-leading infrastructure and technology, we are ideally placed to empower the industry as a whole to thrive.