LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – DIGITAL SOCIETIES, BANGKOK: To survive in the current environment, with falling ARPU and rising competition, Axiata Group must consolidate much of its back-office systems to gain scale to compete with the big internet companies, its head of regulatory affairs explained.

CK Foong (pictured, left) noted one of the biggest cost factors is Axiata Group’s back-office support systems, which account for an increasing share of opex as it runs more and more servers. These are legacy systems, covering things including billing and customer service, and are deployed country by country with no consolidation.

Digital platform competitors, however, are able to serve their customers from the cloud, “which drives us to be more conscious of how we design our back-end systems and reduce costs, because in the long run to compete effectively we need to rapidly move towards this operating model, which means data flows need to be open between countries”, he explained.

Axiata Group, which has financial stakes in seven mobile operators in Asia, is pushing for data laws which will give it the option to consolidate operations in a single centre.

Austin Menyasz, director of public and regulatory affairs for APAC at Telenor Group (pictured, centre), said during the same panel session customers expect services will be tailored to their needs: “As telcos this is where we have to go. We have to be better at personalising services, which is based primarily on a telco’s ability to collect and analyse data,” he said.

He questioned what type of infrastructure is needed to deliver such analysis: “It doesn’t make sense to duplicate that across all of our markets when we are essentially performing the same functions.”