StarHub signs MoU with China Mobile for strategic collaboration

Singapore-based telco StarHub and China Mobile have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the companies partner to advance innovation across areas such as the Internet of Things.

Singaporean telecommunications company StarHub has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Mobile International (CMI) in a bid to accelerate what they called a strategic collaboration under the framework of CMI's Shanghai-based Hand-in-Hand Program.

According to the companies, they will focus on five key areas: Intensifying device collaboration on research initiatives for mobile network evolution technologies; strengthening complementary capabilities for data business services; enhancing mobile business through global roaming cooperation and information sharing; leveraging network resources to maximise efficiency; and co-developing new business opportunities in relation to innovation and the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Today's signing marks an important milestone for StarHub, as we partner the world's biggest mobile operator," StarHub CEO Tan Tong Hai said in a statement. "This is our first step in a long journey that we know will be fruitful for all: China Mobile, StarHub, and our customers."

Under the terms of the MoU, CMI will act as the principal party being supported by China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) to collaborate with StarHub and Thailand's communication conglomerate, True Corporation.

Hai said the partnership is a timely one, with China currently embarking on its One Belt, One Road Journey.

China's One Belt, One Road initiative, formed in 2013, is touted to beef up cross-border economic ties between key markets in Asia, Europe, and Africa. It has been highlighted previously that Singapore should have more opportunities to tap this development with its roots as a regional trading hub.

"Singapore is well-positioned to facilitate this journey," Hai said. "We will work closely with China Mobile to give our Mobile customers a seamless cross border user experience."

"As part of this partnership, we will also look into other areas of collaborations such as data analytics, content, cybersecurity, and the IoT."

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator in terms of network scale, customer base, and market capitalisation, said it owns diverse network resources to meet the increasing demands of domestic and overseas interconnections for signalling, data roaming, and international broadband services.

The telco giant said that it has been developing a global Wi-Fi hub for sharing Wi-Fi network resources in order to deliver what it called the best global digital experience in a high-speed data era.

According to CMI, its Hand-in-Hand program aims to form an integrated platform involving an expanding group of international partners with intentions of reaching win-win partnership benefits and providing seamless services to customers.

"Through cross-industry collaboration, it is believed that the global digital work and life experience of individuals and corporates can be further enriched without boundary," CMI said in a statement.

StarHub's rival Singtel also headed down the innovation path, partnering with several manufacturers earlier this year to launch products and solutions in the smart living sphere, including for home automation, health monitoring, and connected cars.

"As Singapore becomes a smart nation, we hope to help Singaporeans live better by empowering them to live more comfortably and safely with our smart living solutions," Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Singtel's Consumer Singapore group, said in January.

"We want to play a key role in smart, connected living and homes of the future through an intelligent, open platform with a rich ecosystem of partners. We are in a unique position to do so with our extensive network infrastructure capabilities in info-communications, cybersecurity, and analytics across the group. The possibilities are limitless."

Singtel-owned Australian telco Optus announced on Friday that its business arm would be partnering with networking giant Cisco to invest AU$12 million over three years into the local development of capabilities focused on cybersecurity, cloud, the IoT, and what they called the network of the future.

According to the companies, the co-investment is designed to prototype, develop, and launch new technological capabilities, with Optus expecting to co-create in collaboration with its customers.

"A national focus on becoming an innovation economy challenges us to constantly raise the bar and do things that have not been done before, more quickly than ever before," John Paitaridis, managing director for Optus Business, said.

"Many of the services and capabilities our economy will need tomorrow don't exist today. This alliance with Cisco bolsters our commitment to bridge this innovation gap for business and government, to help them navigate a complex and evolving technology landscape."

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