Multinational corporations (MNCs) in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly looking at managed mobility services to cope with the rising cost and complexity of mobility, an Ovum study has found. Mobile service providers have noticed this emerging demand and started offering various elements of managed mobility.
The research firm had asked 110 MNCs worldwide to rank the importance of various mobility issues, and over 95 percent of respondents cited cost management as either important or extremely important.
It's unsurprising that interest in managed mobility services is growing, said Claudio Castelli, Ovum's Melbourne senior analyst in the report "Decision Matrix: Telco Mobility Services for MNCs in Asia-Pacific", released Tuesday.
Managed mobility services help MNCs handle relationships with mobile service providers, manage the device fleet, roll out and manage secure data applications, analyze invoices, and allocate costs back to departments or users.
Enterprises will consider providers that can help them control expenses by offering centralized contracts as well as tools that improve the visibility and management of costs, Castelli added.
The report from Ovum evaluated different providers of enterprise mobility services for MNCs based in the region, to help them select a suitable provider. The assessment covered areas including international roaming, remote access, mobile security services, fixed mobile convergence (FMC) or mobile unified communications (UC), managed mobility and mobilizing data applications.
According to Castelli, there were significant variations across providers' portfolios and geographical availability, and customers in the region also took a diverse approach to mobility, resulting in an extremely "fragmented" competitive landscape of mobility services for MNCs located in Asia.
Companies want their main international service provider to have either a strong presence in major markets or a significant regional presence, but providers which combined both characteristics had the broadest combination of strengths and scored highest in the report, the analyst revealed.
From the list, Ovum identified Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) as the market leader for its strong presence in major Asian markets and a regional approach to Asian MNCs, followed closely by SingTel which had significant mobile assets in the region.
Regional players such as Telstra and Bharti Airtel showed strong regional footprint but their mobility portfolio for MNCs was still under development, the study noted.
As for global service providers such as BT Global Services and Orange Business Services, which have sophisticated mobility offerings but limited or no mobile networks assets and a limited customer base in Asia, Ovum suggested they offer mobility services in the region as part of a global deal, or for businesses with requirements where mobility is combined with other fixed services including managed WAN (wide area network).
National giants China Mobile and China Unicom were also included in the study because of the growing importance of the Chinese market for Asian MNCs and the fact that such businesses still procure their mobility services nationally, Ovum said.
These players have the potential to leverage the expansion plans of the Chinese MNCs to expand services internationally, but they will need to invest significantly in geographical coverage and partnerships to complement their services portfolio, it added.