Discussing the telco digital future with Nathan Bell, M1

As part of the build-up to Telecoms World Asia 2020, we have been discussing the future of the telco landscape with some of our speakers for the show. We are delighted to welcome Nathan Bell, who is currently leading M1’s digital transformation in Singapore. Formerly of Telstra, Nathan is Chief Digital Officer across digital product and systems at M1. You can hear in person from Nathan at Telecoms World Asia where he will be sharing his thoughts and experiences at M1, as well as what the future holds for their digital business.

1. Can you share a brief introduction of what you do and what are some areas of focus for your company?

I lead the Digital Office for M1, which consists of a team that combines the strengths of our Product Management and IT organization, as well as leading the Digital Transformation of our business across both Consumer and B2B segments. To that same end, our business is very much focused on this transformation, ensuring we enable our staff to serve our customers in a digital era as it pertains to the complete customer journey, and how they choose to interact with us either through our stores, call centres or our digital channels.

2. In one sentence, tell us how you would describe the state of the telecommunications industry today?

Telecommunications is in a state of Evolution – evolution of technology, evolution in customers’ expectations of service, evolution in the shape of new competition coming from new markets  (E.g. OTT’s, MVNO’s, Social Platforms).

3. How do you see the industry evolving over the next 5 years?

Telecommunications is at a crossroads and we will see two types of providers emerge; those who achieve lowest cost to serve for key infrastructure and those who focus more on the value add transformation. Regardless, the industry will see a greater transformation shift than where it is today with terms like elastic, evolving, dynamic (not normally associated with Telecommunications) becoming the norm and being underpinned by cloud architectures for end to end systems.

4. What are some of the common challenges that Operators and Communications Service Providers face today and how do you help them overcome these obstacles?

Telecommunications industry has tended to augment their architectures to support new requirements and given the scale of investment historically involved in supporting both mobile and fixed network infrastructure, while IT systems have tended to follow similarly robust and grounded architecture that networks do. Today, however, as network infrastructure becomes increasingly virtualized and real-time transactions becoming mainstream, the challenges and the opportunities for telecom providers is how to evolve the IT systems to not only support that capability, but also to maximize the customer and market insights that real-time data provides.

The other key challenge facing Operators and Communication Service Providers is how to develop with the digital ecosystem and avoid the customization of own systems or the expensive deployment of middleware that has tended to come with it. The digital ecosystem has an evolving number of moving parts, large players but also niche players are able to serve customers from across the globe like never before. To that end, this would be the two biggest challenges for Operators and Communications providers to front into, the evolution of IT into the cloud as well as the integration into the digital ecosystem without destroying the value to the business.

5. What technology are you looking forward to hearing about at Telecoms World Asia 2020?

There are two key themes that I am looking forward to hearing about at Telecoms World Asia 2020. The first is the ongoing evolution of AI and the use cases for Telecom Operators as we seek to become part of the digital ecosystem. AI capabilities will be a key element for Telecom Operators to provide real-time recommendations and personalized interactions for customers.

The other key area I am looking forward to hearing about is Cybersecurity. In an era where all applications are moving to the cloud to maximize the value of being part of a digital ecosystem, cybersecurity becomes increasingly important as data, information flows and self-serve capability become mainstream and how we as Operators protect our customers and our staff is a key accountability.


About Telecoms World Asia

Telecoms World Asia has been an annual platform for leading international carriers, operators, authorities and suppliers to meet, learn and create fruitful partnerships for the betterment of the telecoms ecosystem in Asia.  Expect more than 1200 attendees, 120+ speakers and 70+ exhibitors this year, and a most diverse agenda yet with 5 theatres of content covering 5GNetwork VirtualisationTelco 4.0Wholesale and Intelligent Connectivity.

Visit the event website or download the agenda.

To sponsor or exhibit, contact Shruthi at Shruthi.Hegde@terrapinn.com or +65 6322 2712.

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