Vodafone: APAC is one of fastest-growing markets

The migration of MNC operations to Asia-Pacific has prompted Vodafone Global Enterprise to set up shop in Singapore, enhancing local support to clients in the region.

SINGAPORE—Asia-Pacific's fast-growing economies have prompted Vodafone Global Enterprise to set up a regional office here to serve as a "nerve center" to its clientele of 575 multinational companies, of which 140 are headquartered here.

At a press briefing to announce the opening of its regional office, CEO Nick Jeffery said the telco is responding to its clients' need for an office in Asia, as most of their businesses are moving out of "traditional markets" and concentrating on Asia instead. As such, demand for sophisticated communications solutions from this part of the world is growing "very significantly".

Speaking on the selection of Singapore as its regional hub, Jeffery said it is the close proximity to other Asian countries and large number of existing MNCs in the city-state that makes it a natural choice.

"The launch of this new office makes us even better placed to deliver the benefits of greater cost efficiencies for our clients," said Stevan Hoyle, director of its Asia and African markets. The US$107 billion Vodafone Global Enterprise which started operations here two years ago, is the business unit within Vodafone that manages the communications needs of the world's largest MNCs.

Although Vodafone has equity ownership only in three markets--Australia, New Zealand and India--, the company reaches out to practically every other Asia-Pacific market through partnerships. In Singapore, Vodafone has been partnering M1 for the past seven years to offer mobile roaming services.

Jeffery highlighted that the telco is in the business of helping MNCs manage their communications needs, as well as transform the way clients operate through new technologies.

"MNCs typically employ a host of mobile communications in the various markets that they operate [in] with different contracts and providers. This huge complexity, in turn, drives up costs," explained the CEO. "What Vodofone Global Enterprise does is manage [its] services with just a single contract that comes with regional support and a consistent offering of products."

One of the important services that the company offers is device management, which allows enterprises to gain control of every single piece of mobile equipment deployed around the world.

"Previously, MNCs were unable to keep track of the number of mobile devices that staff lost and [this would] go unaccounted for. With Vodofone Global Enterprise's device management system, any mobile device in the world that belongs to the enterprise can be tracked and will be locked once a loss is reported," said Jeffery.

The company also said that it is able to provide a large quantity of mobile devices to MNCs within short notice through the presence of local offices, which, in turn, reduces shipping and logistics costs that would usually be incurred.

The CEO also stressed that this helps MNCs with transparency in terms of product offering, as well as clear predictability of charges.

Asked if Vodofone Global Enterprise would tap on Singapore's next-generation national broadband network (NBN) to offer ultra-fast broadband connections, Jeffrey said the company is open to possibilities. However, it will still look at the demands of its clients to offer what is relevant to their requirements.

The Singapore office currently employs 25 people, with an increase in headcount expected as the business momentum grows, said Jeffery.

As the main sponsor of Formula 1's McLaren team, lead driver Lewis Hamilton was also present to officiate at the opening of the regional headquarters.

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