Singtel, China Mobile in network-sharing IoT deal

Business users to enjoy seamless connection in China and S'pore

Singtel has signed an agreement with China Mobile International that will make it far easier to employ the Internet of Things (IoT) in the Asia-Pacific region.

Both companies will enable each other's enterprise customers to seamlessly deploy their IoT devices installed in cars, consumer electronics and industrial equipment across China and Singapore.

This means enterprise customers of China Mobile International, a wholly owned unit of state-owned telecommunications giant China Mobile, will be able to use their IoT devices on Singtel's network here without having to manually configure the gadgets or switch networks.

Singtel's business customers can do the same with their own IoT devices in China on China Mobile's network, the firms announced yesterday. There will also be a simplified single billing process so customers will get a combined account.

"The partnership reinforces the synergy of our combined extensive networks in China and Singapore to generate economies of scale, allowing enterprises to accelerate the expansion of their IoT footprints in the two countries," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Singtel's head of IoT, yesterday.

"Our partnership with an established leader like China Mobile International cements our commitment to empowering enterprises with the right capabilities to reap the full potential of IoT, starting with connectivity."

Singtel will also offer China Mobile International's suite of NB-IoT products and a device management platform to customers in Singapore.

NB-IoT is a cost-and power-efficient technology that works on low power networks, enabling a wide range of commercial uses such as smart metering for utilities, powering connected health and industrial appliances and smart city infrastructure, said the partners.

Mr Andrew Niu, chief partnership officer at China Mobile International, said: "Future-ready businesses with footholds in multiple markets win by delivering consistently superior customer experiences based on insights derived from data, and this is possible only with the support of a robust IoT infrastructure and network that spans across countries."

Separately, Singtel has partnered Microsoft to launch an artificial intelligence-powered IoT network over cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure. This will create a unified platform that looks to combine intelligent connectivity with the cloud for IoT.

IoT applications will be able to migrate flexibly from devices to networks and to clouds seamlessly.

Mr Alberto Granados, vice-president of sales, marketing and operations at Microsoft Asia-Pacific, said the collaboration will provide a spectrum of offerings to developers and entrepreneurs to quickly develop and deploy IoT applications.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2019, with the headline 'Singtel, China Mobile in network-sharing IoT deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe