Asian operators look to AI for growth

Asian operators look to AI for growth

The chief executives of Axiata Group, Jio Platforms and Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison expressed great confidence in AI and digitalisation for delivery of growth for emerging market operators and economies.   

Speaking at Digital Transformation World in Copenhagen today (June 19), Axiata Group CEO and Executive Director, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya (pictured, below), said the telecommunications industry needs to look past its mistakes of not adopting new technologies fast enough, and seize the opportunities in AI.

Wijayasuriya said the industry needs to  “move from connectivity to a world where we sell end-to-end solutions” as there is “another trillion dollars up for grabs”, essentially doubling the size of the connectivity space.

Hans Wijayasuriya

But the CEO warned the telecoms industry cannot chase growth without forging partnerships with hyperscalers, and with each other, to develop APIs and micro-services at scale.

“It is not only about partnering with hyperscalers, it also means partnering with your own competition in market, other telcos, ouch,” quipped Wijayasuriya.

“It is very difficult for telcos to think of a world where we hold hands and partner within market. But ladies and gentlemen, if the telco industry continues down the path of not recognising that we are allies in this ecosystem, and not the primary competition we need to address, then you may as well stay at the API level and forget about the $1 trillion that's out there,” warned Wijayasuriya.

Gen AI for growth

To showcase Axiata’s path to effectively tapping into Gen AI for chase growth, Wijayasuriya detailed that Axiata is using Gen AI to orchestrate thousands of microservices and APIs, presenting “great opportunity ahead of us” said Wijayasuriya.

TM Forum CEO Nik Willetts said in his keynote speech that only a handful of operators have used Gen AI effective enough to boost bottom line.

Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison President Director and CEO, Vikram Sinha (main picture, middle) said Gen AI is “democratising innovation at a very rapid pace”, “help Indonesia grow in GDP” and accelerate the nation’s target of becoming a top five global economy by 2045.

Sinha warned changing internal cultures is key to effectively adopting AI. “Every dollar you invest on technology, you back it up with $1 investment on your people. AI will only work for you when you really invest on your people,” said Sinha.

IOH’s boss concurred with Wijayasuriya’s point of forging stronger alliances among telcos, as this is how “we’ll be able to create larger impact”.

Taking the stage next was Jio Platforms CEO Kiran Thomas (main picture, right), who stated that digital technologies such as AI has the power to aid India in overcoming its “structural limitations” to grow its economy.

“AI brings a smarter way to build software, it makes everything that we do in the era of software and data that much smarter,” said Thomas.

But the real opportunity lies in how AI enables the very practices of building better software, said Thomas.

AI will be leveraged to tap a variety of growth opportunities in India, the CEO said. He highlighted how there are only 13 million premises connected to the internet, and this number will accelerate to 200 million. The Internet of Things was another mentioned as an “engine of growth in the future”.  


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