Phil Mottram, CEO, CSL, Hong Kong is delivering the opening keynote address on Day Two of the Broadband Asia conference, taking place on the 9th-10th April 2013 in Hong Kong. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the key challenges and opportunities that the new data driven world is presenting to CSL.
What major developments have there been for the broadband industry in your region over the past year?
There have been several developments over the past year in both the corporate and consumer space. The increase in a multi-device lifestyle has resulted in our corporate clients needing solutions for mobile device management, as their staff work across work and personal devices. With the proliferation of multi-devices and the likelihood of confidential materials being accessed from various devices outside the office, corporate clients have looked to CSL to provide greater security and mobile device management services.
In the consumer space, the widespread 4G LTE device adoption has meant a greater data experience for customers, driving rapid consumption of mobile data and application usage. Users are becoming addicted to ‘content snacking’ on social media and other content generating apps. This has been amplified by the increasing adoption by consumers of multiple device lifestyles, on multiple operating systems.
CSL has lead the market in serving this need, while protecting network investment and performance, with the launch of several multi-SIM volume-based service plan propositions and an innovative O/S agnostic personal cloud service. Since the launch, following extensive year-long education programs and customer service applications providing personal information on data consumption, CSL has seen increasing customer uptake of volumetric plans and anticipates longer term improvement in network yield.
What opportunities do the new cloud services provide for operators?
The greatest opportunity for us lies in launching our own cloud services for our customers. It would be part of a complete package of care for our customer’s personal data, providing the strongest stickiness [for our services]. In the last few months CSL has launched three cloud services including MyRoom, a market-first personal cloud service that is OS agnostic, GameBox, providing a full 4G cloud-based gaming experience, and Books on Demand, a personal cloud-based book service. Operating over our 4G LTE network, CSL is able to facilitate our customer’s access to data from anywhere on multiple platforms, and therefore improve their mobile lifestyle experience.
What are the key challenges around the monetisation of data?
The key challenge around the monetisation of data is our ability as an operator to deliver good yield on the increasing network infrastructure investments. CSL is focused on educating customers about their data usage habits, so they’re able to see the value in paying for only what they use. In a competitive market such as Hong Kong, customers can shop around for the best value from operators, so it’s imperative that the choice is made by them and they understand the value of a strong total network experience and will pay increasing amounts for the service. We have been very successful in increasing ARPU every month for 30+ months, while also growing our customer base, through the implementation of our education program, volume-based service plans and attractive content propositions.
How important is wifi offload to your rollout plans?
Wifi offload is important within the overall connectivity eco-system. As consumers increasingly integrate fixed location and mobile content access, the role of wifi will need to be considered by all operators to ensure efficient use of their networks, matched with optimised consumer experience.
With networks with a mix of technologies in play, are HetNets the future and how best can they be exploited?
We are certainly looking at HetNets or small cells as a method to increase network capacity once our spectrum is fully utilised. Already in Hong Kong, we have used a mix of large cells and small cells. The benefit of HetNets will be a lower cost per site, a smaller footprint and a more economical deployment where traffic is extremely dense. The challenge will be to provide the backhaul to the small cells, and to secure the space especially in markets like Hong Kong where rental space is expensive.
What is the most exciting development you expect to see in broadband over the next 12 months?
I think the real excitement will be watching new types of connected mobile devices enter the market. Hong Kong is a primarily device driven market, so it will be interesting to see the outcome of a number of device manufacturers launching new devices whose future depends on a successful new product. For several manufacturers, their next product launch will determine if they sink or swim in the industry. From a market perspective, it will be interesting to see whether users accelerate the rate at which they change devices or if they reject the new products and settle with the current market dominators.