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1. The local telecommunications space is already so crowded, what differentiates you from the crowd?

While the local telecommunications scene has a few major players already, SP Telecom – a joint venture between ST Engineering and Singapore Power, is not just a telco, but a digital service provider. With our unique network structure we are able to deliver true network diversity supported by intelligence with the development of a new fully Software-Defined Network with Network Functions Virtualization (SDN-NFV). This new intelligent network is also enhanced with edge computing capabilities. But first, let me share with you a little more about why network diversity is so important.

I’m sure you are aware that there has been an increasing frequency of fibre outages. According to the Straits Times, there have been 26 such outages since Feb 16, arising from cable cuts alone. For businesses in the financial sector, an unreliable network can mean significant loss of revenue and reputation. This is the reason why many financial institutions go with two providers to minimise the chance of service interruption.

However, these outages, especially major ones like the incident in Nov 2018 that affected 10,000 users in the eastern part of Singapore, rarely affects only a single provider. This is because major network service providers in Singapore use a common network infrastructure with fibre network cables that share pathways and exchanges. SP Telecom can provide customers with a true network diversity option because it has its own separate network infrastructure:

  • Unique fibre path that leases SP Group’s existing infrastructure and lays its fibre network alongside the power network cables
  • Exchange diversity as a standard to auto-reroute traffic in case of disruptions
  • Enter buildings through the switch room instead of MDF room
  • Cables buried underground for added physical security

The best way to ensure your business remains uninterrupted, is to have network diversity. You can find out more on this topic here.

 

2. Thanks for sharing that! You call yourself a digital service provider and mentioned SDN and edge computing, could you tell us more about what this means?

I’m glad you picked up on that!

We are building an intelligent network solution that is secure, automated, self-healing and highly flexible.  This isn’t just a CEO’s dream; we’re making it a reality in the first quarter of 2020. You can read more about it in our press release here.

Our aspiration is to enable businesses to embrace and accelerate their digitalization effort to thrive in the Digital Economy. To do so, we as the service provider must first be fully digitalised in our services and support and provide an open environment for digital innovation to drive benefits for businesses such as:

(i) Faster go to market with time savings on quotations and provisioning

Quotations and provisioning that used to take weeks can be done almost instantly. Simply select your network route and functions (e.g. data centre, cloud or international connectivity) from a self-service portal and receive your quotation. Once a service is selected, provisioning can be done within minutes with real-time updates for the user.

(ii) Freedom from fixed, inflexible contracts

Bandwidth and network functions can now be turned on on demand and charged based on usage. Customers can now pay only for what they need, when they need it. For example, during festive seasons when you expect an increase in user traffic, you can simply access our customer portal to increase your bandwidth just for that period.

(iii) Seamless and hassle free customer experience that lets you focus on growing your core business

The entire experience from signing up for a service to provisioning, monitoring, management and even fault resolution are fully automated. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the network will do predictive auto re-routing of network traffic before congestion is encountered.

(iv) Greater control over your network

Our portal consolidates all customer services in a single dashboard so you can have full oversight on how your network is doing. From this dashboard you can slice your network according to your requirements for different job functions based on Quality of Service (QOS), privacy and cyber security and provision new network functions. This dashboard also provides analytics with insights on latency and utilization, so you can enhance network performance and optimize cost efficiency.

(v) Peace of mind with an inherently cyber secure network and MEC capabilities

Cybersecurity is also a growing threat especially for businesses dealing with financial data. With the tougher stance governments are taking on data security, the FSI sector being privy to a vast amount of personal and financial data need to ensure effective network security provisions to prevent data breaches. Our cyber secure network will auto-detect and defend against cyber-attacks while providing you with real-time status updates. Our added advantage is our access to a pervasive network of hubs within Singapore which we can use to perform multi-edge computing (MEC). When combined with our cyber secure network, can ensure enhanced data security and privacy.

MEC essentially means distributed computing that takes place close to the source of data. As more smart devices are connected to your business platform (whether staff, partners or customers) and transmitting information to your cloud, it increases your risk for break-ins and breaches. Edge computing can help alleviate the influx of information your network has to handle, by processing data locally and reducing the backhaul traffic to the cloud.  We see great potential for Edge Computing with IoT, 5G, Microservices and even Blockchain technologies for FSI. By computing data nearer to the events, industries and people that use your service, and then transmitting it via our secure network to your cloud, you can have greater peace of mind that your data is safe.

 

3. What are your goals for the next 2-3 years? 

We want to empower the FSI sector to accelerate their digital adoption with our cloud gen network infrastructure and MEC capabilities. We hope to be the digital service partner of choice for discerning FSI players by supporting them with a winning connectivity strategy and innovative and resilient solutions for security and reliability.

 

4. This all sounds very exciting! But how do you foresee yourself getting there? 

No man is an island. Behind the success of SP Telecom is a team of dedicated individuals who are determined to challenge business norms and develop solutions that will shake up the network world. To deliver our vision of a cloud-gen network, we are rapidly growing our team. If there are professionals interested to step into the digital services age with us a truly rewarding career in tech can begin here.

Other than building up our internal capabilities, we are also focused on creating partnerships with like-minded service providers to develop stronger connections for our network. This will enable us to offer a truly digitalised end-to-end service, locally and internationally. We are opening our Network and Service Platform API for partners to interconnect with us to eventually offer a richer set of services to our customers together.

 

5. Could you share with us your management philosophy?

I believe in a few key principles that I try to instill within my team.

Radical Candor - You should always speak your mind if there is a better way of doing things. This also means that you must stay humble and be open to listening to everyone’s opinions.

Integrity - Once you have agreed on something, pursue it and follow through.

Customer experience is key – Without our customers, we are nothing, they should always be at the heart of what we do.

Teamwork – The whole organisation needs to work towards the same goals to achieve something great.