Where do you think the telecom industry is moving towards?
Today's digital service is only a hint of what the industry hopes to offer with its third-generation (3G) technologies. The global wireless market is moving towards 3G, which hopes to offer speeds 100 times today's service. However, it is an extremely demanding R&D endeavor and will be at least a few years before it reaches the market broadly.
NTT DoCoMo's trial in Japan currently is the world's first attempt at this. WorldCom's merger with SkyTel, partnership with Metricom and acquisition of Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Service (MMDS) assets serve as building blocks for us to capitalize on the growing demand for wireless services. These assets position WorldCom to participate in the US market, but also may serve as a springboard to the international wireless market.
What are some of the issues involved in rolling out Location-Based Services (LBS)?
Location-based services are slowly being delivered to customers from vehicle-tracking (locating your car in a car lot) to Electronic Resource Planning (ERP). Location-based services have a unique strength to any organization that deploys it. Even if the mobile phone is not the best Internet devices it is, by virtue of it's immense penetration, (some 80% in HK) is the device you have on hand when immediate services are accessed.
The most powerful driver behind m-commerce is convenience, [where] anyone can conduct a transaction anytime, anywhere. Currently our deployment of services in the wireless space is focused on the US market.
Tell us about some of WorldCom's digital offerings.
WorldCom offers one of the industry's most comprehensive portfolios of digital and e-business communications services designed to help next generation businesses compete in the 21st century. These will be our focus for the next 12-months and beyond.
In Asia, offerings will depend on each market. From April onwards, we will offer our comprehensive services that include web hosting, IP-VPN and Data Centers through our operations in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Philippines.
WorldCom also offers dial-up, dedicated and remote corporate Internet access along with a full suite of ATM and Frame relay services. It is all part of our strategy and commitment to provide customers in Asia with access to our global networks.
WorldCom recently made a hefty investment in submarine cable technology. What's the rationale behind that?
WorldCom is a lead investor in the first self-healing broadband fiber optic submarine cable in the Asia Pacific region, called the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN-2). The 19,000km cable expected to be completed in Q3, 2001 will connect Japan, Korea, China and Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
Besides serving the AP region the cable system will provide seamless interconnection with other major oceanic cable networks for the United States, Europe, Australia and other parts of Asia.
Our forecast ROI is figured by the fact that by the year 2004 there will be approximately 188 million Internet users in Asia. Add to that figure growth in data and in voice and you can see there will be a huge demand for WorldCom's services in Asia.
More about Top 20 Telecoms' Outlook.