MyRepublic is looking for new revenue in the enterprise space, where it says offers significant growth potential for the Singapore broadband services provider. It plans to ramp up its service offerings to better address this customer segment, with particular focus on cybersecurity where it may look to make acquisitions to plug product gaps.
In fact, it was seeing a good uptick in enterprise growth before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, said MyRepublic's Singapore managing director Lawrence Chan, and was bringing in the same sale volume as its consumer broadband business.
At the peak of the pandemic, though, sales from the enterprise space had dipped by 20%, he said in a video interview with ZDNet. While it saw some recovery in recent months, with a smaller 10% dip, Chan said it still was too early to say when volumes would return to pre-pandemic levels.
He said, though, that there had been a shift in use cases as businesses looked to ensure their employees could remotely access data and tools sitting within the corporate network. Focus then was on making sure there was no lag in connectivity. He added that more businesses also were migrating from on-premise to cloud services and needed to boost connectivity to their data centre and office network.
As of May 2021, MyRepublic has 70,000 mobile subscribers, up 250% year-on-year, and 85,000 broadband subscribers in the city-state. The local market remains the main revenue source for the operator, which also offers broadband services in Australia and New Zealand. It has a franchise business in Indonesia via a partnership with the Sinar Mas Group.
With its broadband operations the most mature in Singapore, Chan noted that MyRepublic's emphasis here currently was on its enterprise and mobile businesses, the latter of which was launched in 2018.
The company in April unveiled a rebranding initiative that included the introduction of a self-service SIM card activation service for its new mobile customers, who would receive their SIM cards via mail delivery.
Chan said the new brand identity outlined MyRepublic's efforts to differentiate itself with a strong focus on customer-driven service offerings and "community-centric approach".
Noting that customers saw the company as a "personable" brand, he said: "Customers can relate to us. We're users of broadband services, like them. We're also gamers like they are and we use broadband for work, like they do."
He added that MyRepublic's ability to deliver "meaningful value" to customers would be critical to its continued success. This meant providing services that were carried by intelligent pipes, where service packages for gamers, for example, would have latency optimisation.
He noted that customers increasingly saw online connectivity as a commodity, which meant they would seek out the cheapest offering in the market. This was resulting in price wars amongst telcos and driving consolidation in the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) market, he said.
It underscored the need for players such as MyRepublic to offer a premium service over its competitors, rather than compete on price, he added.
This also meant it must better understand customers' needs to offer relevant services. Chan said the company made efforts to do so through machine learning, applying such tools to areas related to customer satisfaction so it could understand, for instance, why people stopped using or were using less of a particular service.
It also integrated intelligent configuration of its networks to segment customers based on specific IP pools or categories, such as gamers and streamers. Each would have requirements specific to their online activities.
For example, gamers would need shorter routes to China due to the popularity of games developed in the Chinese market. Media streamers, on the other hand, might require higher bandwidth so they could watch their content without disruptions.
"Telcos typically wouldn't architect their network this way," Chan said, noting that MyRepublic categorised its customers based on the service package for which they signed up. Users were divided into four to five segmentations.
He added that the broadband operator continuously monitored usage across the different segments, studying traffic patterns and types of data packets, as well as shifts in usage.
Looking for new business in enterprise market
Elaborating on his plans to grow the company's enterprise business, Chan said MyRepublic was seeing large margins and growth potential in this segment, which remained largely untapped.
He said the vendor currently supported some 6,000 enterprise customers, including small and midsize businesses (SMBs() and large organisations, which included players in the financial services industry (FSI) as well as food and beverage, construction, and hospitality sectors.
It also would be looking to target smaller players in FSI, where it was seeing robust growth amongst fintech companies. "Smaller FSI players often are well established, even though they are smaller, and have high-end connectivity requirements," Chan said. "They also are more nimble and market disruptors, and want to partner service providers that are also nimble and able to provide quick turnaround for solutions."
He added that even bigger enterprises now were looking to form closer ties with their connectivity service providers, so they could have more flexibility and access network services that had more customisation.
The broadband provider also would be looking to beef up its portfolio to include cybersecurity services, as more enterprises realised the importance of such tools.
Noting that its play in this market segment was "still early days", Chan said MyRepublic would look to beef up its services here internally and, where necessary, through partners such as consulting services and in-office monitoring. The broadband provider currently provides some security tools such as firewall and network protection.
He said it was planning a "major push" in cybersecurity and would soon unveil new products and partners in this space.
He also did not rule out the possibility of acquisitions to plug any gaps in its service offerings, adding that the vendor needed to provide products in some key areas to be a "full" security player. These included tools to protect against malware, DDoS, and phishing.