News

Consumers could save RM294b as TowerCos improve 5G connectivity

This includes enabling MNOs to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 17m metric tonnes by 2025

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic by TMR FILE

CONSUMERS could save up to US$67 billion (RM294.26 billion) over the next decade if tower companies (TowerCos) can help mobile network operators (MNOs) build 5G networks.

According to edotco Group’s report titled “Towering Above: Building Tomorrow’s Digital Infrastructure in Asia”, TowerCos can help MNOs save up to US$10 billion through infrastructure sharing.

This includes enabling MNOs to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 17 million metric tonnes by 2025.

The report was launched during a panel discussion between edotco, Roland Berger, and the International Finance Corp, which explores the critical roles and potential impact of TowerCos across nine key Asian markets, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

It also demonstrates how TowerCos are stimulating sustainable digital connectivity to realise incremental socio-economic benefits for industries, societies and governments, in addition to assessing how key policies and regulatory reform recommendations can unlock such opportunities.

edotco Group Director of Group Strategy Gayan Koralage said while MNOs are rapidly expanding their networks in low average revenue per user (ARPU) markets such as Asia, they face a significant challenge in keeping their cost per GB under control while striving to meet industry demands and adhering to regulators’ intended policy and regulatory outcomes.

“These can only be addressed sustainably through a higher degree of infrastructure sharing,” he said.

The report further notes that despite South-East Asia (SEA) and South Asia fast becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing sub-regions in terms of average data usage per user, MNOs have not been able to capitalise on the traffic trend and this is causing the continual decline in ARPU.

Gayan added that this can be overcome through solutions based on software-defined networking and a stronger partnership with next-generation TowerCos, as well as reformulating regulations to support such partnerships.

The study notes that forward-looking regulatory reforms and policy changes are needed for TowerCos to realise their potential in the next few years.

These include providing incentives and introducing a more conducive regulatory framework for TowerCos to explore more innovative partnerships and services.

Meanwhile, Roland Berger managing partner of SEA Damien Dujacquier said given today’s telecommunications industry dynamics, TowerCos must evolve to become active digital infrastructure providers to provide the needed industry scalability, efficiency and flexibility.

“However, the right regulatory environment is needed with five policy reforms critical to power growth: A strong digital infrastructure mandate; a conducive licensing and ownership regime; active promotion of infra sharing; streamlined processes; and enablement of adjacent services,” he added.

The study notes that leading TowerCos are poised to assist MNOs by moving up the value chain.

This is accomplished by providing innovative 5G-enabled solutions such as OpenRAN, Network-as-a-Service solutions and Edge Computing to assist MNOs in increasing cost and network efficiency.

 

Intan TMR

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