Eleven Asian operators form new M2M alliance

A group of 11 mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific have banded together to form an M2M alliance aimed at offering a “one-stop-shop” experience for M2M deployments in the region.

The alliance members are drawn from the Bridge Alliance – a partnership of 31 mobile operators that have been working together on the launch of enterprise and roaming services – and have logically named the new group the Bridge M2M Alliance.

They include Airtel (New Delhi, India), AIS (Bangkok, Thailand), CSL (Hong Kong), Globe Telecom (Manila, Philippines), Maxis (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), MobiFone (Hanoi, Vietnam), Optus (Sydney, Australia), SingTel (Singapore), SK Telecom (Seoul, South Korea), Taiwan Mobile (Taipei) and Telkomsel (Jakarta, Indonesia) and serve a combined customer base of more than 500 million subscribers.

The group says it will eliminate the complexity of dealing with multiple operators by offering “seamless delivery of regional M2M services across geographical borders”.

It also aims to improve service experience through interoperability, service levels and customer support.

“Asia is made up of highly varied economies, uneven technological development and diversified regulatory requirements,” said Alessandro Adriani, Bridge Alliance’s chief executive.

“As a result, multinational businesses find it extremely difficult to navigate the intricacies of the region and to fully capitalise on economies of scale,” added Adriani. “The evolution of Bridge Alliance in the M2M business is an indication of the commitment from the 11 operators to overcome these challenges for the success of customers’ businesses.”

Besides collaborating in technical areas, Bridge M2M Alliance members plan to work together on commercial arrangements in a variety of industries, including vehicle telemetry, security and energy management.

They say this will allow them to create new products and service and lower customers’ operational costs, as well as develop an ecosystem involving players from other parts of the value chain, such as module makers and service providers.

The group believes that it is ideally placed to support multinational companies “hoping to ride on Asia’s growth”, as well as Asian companies look to expand globally.

Although focused on Asia, the Bridge M2M Alliance appears to be the third major international association of operators targeting the M2M opportunity, after the Global M2M Association and the M2M World Alliance.

Indeed, SingTel is already a member of the M2M World Alliance – whose aims are broadly the same as those of the Bridge M2M Alliance – and it is unclear whether its membership of the latter will have any bearing on its involvement in the former.