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In 2018, M1 embarked on a digital transformation journey to reinvent the legacy telco into a next-generation, agile digital telco. Telecom Review Asia interviews Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of M1, to discover more about how the telco is addressing customers’ demand for digital experiences while deepening its market share in the enterprise sector.

M1 embarked on its digital transformation journey to transition from a legacy telco to a digital telco in 2018. Can you share with us some considerations and highlights from this process?

M1’s digital transformation is enabled by our future-proof digital platform, which integrates all aspects of its systems onto a single platform. Working with some of the best leading technology service providers to integrate the systems has radically simplified the way M1 operates while providing real value to customers.

Our new platform’s features and capabilities include: cloud-native applications to optimize resources and improve sustainability through cloud adoption with top-tier cloud partners; data analytics for actionable insights to streamline over 200 databases into a single data lake and enable real-time data analytics and provide actionable insights to better serve customers from a single source of truth; automation and self-serve for efficiency to deliver automated customer-facing touchpoints on the digital platform, offering better integration with partners as well as enabling an enhanced and efficient digital experience for customers; and hyper-personalization services to deliver the ability to personalize products, services and business solutions more rapidly and accurately, catering to customers’ specific needs.

With the advent of 5G, telcos are in good stead to unlock 5G value for businesses seeking new revenue streams. How is M1 tapping into opportunities in the B2B market?

We believe that the true value of 5G lies within the B2B as well as the B2B2C segments. Businesses that are able to leverage 5G technology will be one step ahead in delivering improved offerings with greater value to their customers and end users. M1 is boosting 5G adoption through partnerships to co-create 5G solutions and showcase real results. M1 has been at the forefront of 5G development, being the first to embark on 5G trials as early as June 2018 and multiple 5G SA trials. M1 has since conducted more than 15 5G use cases and partnerships and is on its way to delivering commercial solutions.

Can you share with us some partnerships forged in Singapore and the region?

As one of the key pillars in Keppel’s connectivity business, M1 is able to collaborate with Keppel Group to co-create a wide range of 5G applications across its various businesses. This allows us to pilot projects and speed up the process of getting it commercially ready for other businesses to adopt. For example, in August 2022, M1 deployed Keppel Offshore & Marine’s first autonomous vessel operations. M1 also worked with Keppel Offshore & Marine to implement a 5G AR/VR Smart Glasses solution at its yards to improve workplace safety in Singapore, which is the first in Southeast Asia’s maritime industry.

We also worked closely with government bodies like Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to provide 5G SA coverage in our port waters to enable the establishment of Singapore’s 5G@SEA, the world’s first public and largest 5G Maritime testbed. This opens doors for Singapore to trial, innovate and commercialize 5G use-cases for the broader Maritime sector, from automated ship movement to remote pilotage.

In the B2B2C segment, M1 recently partnered with Gardens by the Bay to provide fast-speed 5G connectivity and immersive metaverse experiences in Gardens by the Bay’s indoor venues. We also recently announced a partnership with the National Heritage Board to provide 5G connectivity and edge computing solutions to the National Museum of Singapore and the Children’s Museum Singapore (CMSG), opening possibilities for museums and curators to attract and engage new audiences in innovative ways.

Building and retaining a strong pool of digital talent is a priority for many organizations. What steps is M1 taking to grow its current workforce?

With our transformation from a traditional telco into a cloud-native digital platform, we need to ensure that our people are also part of that journey. The ways of working need to change, as people are the ones driving technology. As such, we have been retraining and reskilling our people from the very beginning to help them transit. The ultimate goal is to have our people operate as part of a digital organization so that they are more accustomed to thinking digitally.

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