This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential Guide: State of 5G in APAC

Axiata doubles down on Google Cloud

The regional telecoms group plans to use Google Cloud’s compute, storage and networking services across the six telcos under its fold

Regional telecoms group Axiata will be expanding its use of Google Cloud services across the six telco brands under its fold in South and Southeast Asia.

The telcos, including Dialog in Sri Lanka, Celcom in Malaysia, XL Axiata in Indonesia, Robi in Bangladesh, Ncell in Nepal and Smart in Cambodia, will start using Google Cloud’s compute, storage, and networking services to modernise their infrastructure.

The move follows XL Axiata’s adoption of Anthos in 2020 to power its hybrid and multi-cloud computing needs. With a target to move 70% of its workloads to the cloud within three years, the Indonesian telco is looking to automate, manage and scale workloads across its hybrid- and multi-cloud environments.

In Malaysia, Celcom is already using Google Cloud to power its payment gateway and advance its digital customer journey. It also plans to use the cloud supplier’s artificial intelligence tools to build personalisation and recommendation models to enhance customer experience.

By the end of this year, the six telcos, which have a total subscriber base of over 157 million, will also offer Google Workspace as part of their integrated ICT portfolio and services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“Axiata and Google Cloud have a shared vision of helping businesses digitise and grow as they build greater resilience for the long haul,” said Gopi Kurup, CEO of Axiata’s enterprise business. “With nations increasingly stepping up on digitalisation for economic recovery and growth, we stand at a critical juncture to support businesses, especially small and medium players in their efforts to adjust and adapt to new digital norms for survival.

“The power of Google Cloud’s advanced technologies combined with Axiata’s market intelligence enables companies to access advanced tools to boost their collaboration and productivity and generate data-based insights to strengthen their evolving customer engagement strategies,” he added.

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Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director of Google Cloud in Southeast Asia, said to resource-strapped SMEs, cloud technology is a game changer that will help them compete with larger players in the market.

In the enterprise space, Google Cloud also counts some of the largest conglomerates, including Indonesia’s Salim Group, as clients as it ramps up its business across the region.

“We’re seeing lots of demand in the traditional enterprise and a year ago that may not have been true,” Balasubramanian told Computer Weekly earlier this year. “The pandemic has created a sense of urgency.”

Balasubramanian, a former Cisco executive who took up the region’s top job in December 2020, said retailers, for example, are doing “interesting things around sales events and gamification” while building their digital front door on the cloud.

Such initiatives were more of nice-to-have a year ago but have taken off in the past six to 12 months, she said. “They’ve just had a lot more momentum in terms of shifting to the cloud.”

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