Asia Pacific ICT Awards, the story so far…

We celebrated the 12th annual Asia Pacific ICT awards last Thursday in Singapore.  Set up in 2004, the program recognizes outstanding companies and individuals who have been best in class in their respective categories in the previous calendar year.  The awards reflect the changing dynamics of the industry and are a great indicator of the trends that are having a transformative impact on companies across the region.  We presented 32 awards this year. As always there were many familiar faces.  Allow me to summarize some of the leading recipients, the upsets, the trends and best practices they represent for the industry.

  • Telstra won the most awards this year (a total of three) for Fixed Broadband, Telecom Cloud Provider and Managed Services Provider of the Year. Under the leadership of David Thodey, Telstra has undergone a massive transformation driven by its focus on customer service, investment in network and a huge push to expand its business into the Asia Pacific region.  Telstra’s market capitalization more than doubled in the last five years and that is a very commendable achievement for a telecom company which operates in a highly mature and developed market.  Telstra has very ably demonstrated how a telecom company can truly differentiate itself on customer service.
  • NTT Communications won the award for Data Center Provider of the Year. It is now looked upon as the company to emulate for its acquisition driven growth strategy and an end-to-end ICT services value proposition. It has assembled one of the largest portfolio of data center assets in the region that covers both mature and emerging markets.  Another NTT company, Arkadin received the award for Collaboration Provider of the Year for the third year in a row.  NTT’s strategy of acquiring medium sized companies and allowing them to continue operating independently, yet leveraging on the strengths of the group has been successful.  The companies have retained their nimbleness and agility, yet they get the benefit from being part of the larger group.
  • Amongst the vendors, Microsoft won two awards. It continued its winning streak for being the Unified Communications Vendor of the Year.  It has won this award now for four consecutive years. In what is a major upset, it won the award for  Software as a Service Provider of the Year for the very first time displacing multi-year recipient  This is a clear reflection of the strides that the company is making towards its cloud first, mobile first strategy.
  • Another notable upset in this year’s awards program was the awarding of Telecom Group Company of the Year to Telenor. This was the first time that Axiata Group did not win the award since this category came into being in 2009.  It won it for six consecutive years.  It was becoming too much of a title to defend.  The company’s investee companies such as Celcom and XL have been facing strong headwinds in their traditional strongholds of Malaysia and Indonesia.  This had an adverse impact on the overall groups financial performance.  Two of their investee companies, however, went onto win some key awards.  This included Smart Axiata from Cambodia which won the award for the Emerging Markets Service Provider of the Year.
  • Indian operators have started ploughing their way back into the program with key wins after a few tough years in the early part of this decade. Idea Cellular won two important awards.  One for Mobile Data Service Provider of the Year and another one for being the Most Innovative Service Provider of the Year.  It was also great to see Bharti Airtelcome back to win the Telecom Service Provider of the Year award after several years.  The Indian market is set for some good growth driven by the take up of smart devices.  This could augur well for the overall growth of the communications industry in the country.
  • The final award for the evening was for the CEO of the Year. We recognized Khun Suphachai  Chearavanont for his vision of driving True Corp in Thailand to be a truly integrated operator offering services across fixed, mobile, internet, cable television and lifestyle services.  His is a story of perseverance despite all odds.  From joining the company 23 years ago, as a general staff, he worked his way up to lead the company in 1999.  True was a late entrant in the mobile space.  He compensated for that disadvantage by building the Pay TV and internet businesses.  The company revenues grew from US$300 million to US$3 billion in the last 10 years and the stock is now at an all time high.  It was both humbling and inspiring to hear Khun Suphachai talk about his aspiration to make True Corp a regional player in the coming years.

The full list of award recipients is available at  Congratulations again to all the recipients.  Thank you to this wonderful industry for helping us play this role in celebrating successes, inspiring others and sharing best practices.

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