Almost 1,000 delegates from 45 countries recently attended the 7th Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC), a telecommunications event organized by PLDT and Smart in Cebu.
Themed “Embracing New Value Streams for Growth,” the 7th ACC participants learned about new concepts and innovations, as well as developments and opportunities in the telecoms industry that will help their companies grow.
An annual international conference, the ACC provides a venue for leaders from the wholesale fixed and mobile telecoms carriers to meet and network, collaborate, and conduct business with delegates from the extended telecoms industry.
According to PLDT and Smart International and Carrier Business Head Alejandro O. Caeg, there was a record turnout this year despite the inclement weather, as delegates’ participation increased by over 23% compared to last year.
Delegates to the 7th Asian Carriers’ Conference pose for a souvenir shot.
“The ACC has had a very good following over the years and we expect that the Philippines will benefit not just from its tourism prospects but also with respect to expanding commercial and business relationships between Philippine telcos and their foreign affiliates,” Caeg said.
Mark Dodman of Verizon, a seasoned delegate, having attended the conference since it started in 2005, said: “This is my 7th ACC. I’ve been here at the very first ACC and it is always worth coming all the way from New York, all the way from America for the ACC because it brings together all the Asian carriers and the global community and it makes it very easy to do business in one setting, and that’s why my company comes here every year. We enjoy ACC.”
First-time attendee Ali Asif of Bolotel travelled from Islamabad, Pakistan to Cebu, Philippines for the ACC to establish business contacts, while Clara Chua of TeleGeography Research in China got to know more people in the telecoms industry and gained new insights. She said the ACC was “very well-organized. There was transport and welcome at the airport and a shuttle service between the hotels.”
During the plenary session, PLDT and Smart SVP and Head of Enterprise and International & Carrier Business Ernesto R. Alberto who delivered the keynote remarks on behalf of PLDT Group President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno, said telcos’ investments in network and infrastructure “will bear fruit if it enables us to offer a new generation of relevant services to our customers. Increasingly, these services have taken the form of website platforms and applications downloadable to devices, particularly smartphones and tablets.”
“Such platforms and applications have enabled over-the-top players to build large communities of users. Moving forward, telcos must build their own communities. These aren’t the walled gardens of the old VAS world. These are dynamic communities that telcos form by offering their customers relevant services that address a wide range of their needs.”
In his keynote remarks during the plenary session, PLDT and Smart SVP and Head of Enterprise and International & Carrier Business Ernesto R. Alberto underscores that telcos’ investments in network and infrastructure “will bear fruit if it enables us to offer a new generation of relevant services to our customers.”
Alberto discussed some of the initiatives taken by PLDT and Smart in order to build their own communities and ecosystems: the TelPad and Netphone.
“PLDT launched TelPad, a landline kit that features a conventional landline and a seven-inch Android 2.2 Froyo device. Smart, for its part, has just launched its Smart Netphone line of handsets, the first of which is a customized ZTE Blade V880.”
He said the Netphone is a “first-in-the-world smartphone designed to serve emerging markets like the Philippines…. The most obvious initial attraction of the Netphone is that it offers Facebook, Twitter and Chat for free during the introductory period. All you need is a one-peso load in your Netphone and you can chat, Tweet and FB to your heart’s content. The user interface is easy, even for non-smartphone users. That is an attractive proposition in a market like the Philippines which has the highest propensity to do social networking in the world.”
The panelists during the round table discussion at the plenary session are, from left: moderator Joseph Waring, Group Editor, Telecom Asia; Vincent Hebbelynck, Head of Voice Product Management, BICS; Ajay Joseph, Chief Technology Officer, iBasis; Christian Michaud, Senior Vice President - Product Marketing & Business Development, Tata Communications; Antti Ohrling, Founder and Co-inventor of Blyk; Evert Jaap Lugt, Founder and CEO, Nimbuzz; and Phatanadit Kulphaichitra, Senior Business Development Manager, GMS Region, Hutchison Global Communications Limited.
Emceed by Telecom Asia Magazine Group Editor Joseph Waring, the plenary session also had the following industry experts as speakers: Hutchison Global Communications Ltd. Senior Business Development Manager Phatanadit Kulphaichitra; Blyk Co-founder and Inventor Antti Orhling; Nimbuzz CEO and Founder Evert Jaap Lugt; and i3 Forum Creator and Chairman and Orange Money Operations SVP Philippe Millet.
PLDT and Smart International Carrier Business Head Alejandro O. Caeg, center, awards a Certificate of Appreciation to plenary speaker Phatanadit Kulphaichitra, Senior Business Development Manager for GMS Region, Hutchison Global Communications Limited. Also in photo is PLDT Carrier Relations and Sales Management Head Enrique G. Yu.