Marc Halbfinger has been chief executive officer of PCCW Global Limited at PCCW-HKT Limited since July 2007. He is responsible for the integrated global communication solutions business at PCCW Global. Marc sat with Telecom Review to update us on why MWC is such an important event to attend and where PCCW Global stands in an industry that is shifting at an unprecedented velocity.
Why is Mobile World Congress such an important showcase for PCCW Global?
Networks today have become a shifting array of multiple environments: the fixed network environment, the mobile network environment and the cloud capable environment. All of these instances of network capable distribution, once upon a time, used to be separate silos in nature, but today the lines between and among mobile, fixed and computing infrastructures are becoming ever more distorted. An entity like us, which provides solutions to service providers and to content providers, needs to stay meaningful in all three of those instances. Thankfully, our team continues to deliver meaningful messages in fixed network, mobile network and in the cloud environment. As such, we see it as our mission to be present in environments such as MWC.
There has been a change in our industry; increase of data, a decline in voice and increase in cloud. For a company like PCCW Global, how do you deal with this shift?
Voice traffic at the retail level in Hong Kong has not been a major contributor to our business for some years, because domestically in Hong Kong voice services are provided at a fixed value per month. Frankly, voice has been treated by the Hong Kong domestic mobile networks almost somewhat as a free app for many years. Hong Kong is one of the only locations in the world operating in that fashion; this may be one of the reasons why Hong Kong can sometimes seem to be a step ahead of others in understanding the evolution of markets trends.
We view the competitive retail environment in Hong Kong as a laboratory for ICT development. If a service provider or content provider is looking to grow or change, Hong Kong is a great place to study the market. Hong Kong has always represented what is ""going to happen."" When something radical happens, such as a major technical shift, or a change in behavior of competitive activity which has impacting market behavior on service providers, content providers, vendors, and suppliers - it is often possible to see the ecosystem changes in Hong Kong before they happen elsewhere.
PCCW Global acts as the international operating arm of the domestic retail ICT provider in Hong Kong, and this gives us the ability to act as a bridge between advanced retail development in Hong Kong to the evolving requirements of other service providers around the world.
Our business has therefore been able to acclimate efficiently and in a timely manner to market changes.
Our mix of services continues to shift toward large data requirements on a regular basis, and we see the evolution being driven by continued bandwidth demand for core connectivity and the applications which ride upon that bandwidth.
Another example of Hong Kong being a leader in this domestic space was HKT's launch in Q3 2015 of 10 gigabit to the home over fiber.
How is PCCW Global involved with smart living?
HKT, our parent, has developed Smart Living domestically in Hong Kong. At the retail level, delivering big bandwidth enables all applications that can be delivered to an end user. Smart living is the Internet of Things. HKT launched ""Smart Living"" as a brand new service in 2012 before everyone started using the term IoT. PCCW Global acts as the international arm in delivering the message and opportunity, which has been created domestically in Hong Kong by HKT.