Singtel shares networks with China Mobile in IoT collaboration, partners Microsoft on IoT network cloud services

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

SINGAPORE - Singtel has signed a master services agreement with China Mobile International Ltd to collaborate on accelerating enterprise adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in the Asia-Pacific region.

China Mobile International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-owned telecom giant China Mobile.

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, they said in a joint media release on Tuesday (Feb 26).

The IoT partnership will enable China Mobile International's enterprise customers to easily deploy their IoT devices onto Singtel's network in Singapore, without having to manually configure the devices or switch networks in-country. Likewise, Singtel's business customers can use their own IoT solutions or devices in China on China Mobile's network.

The partners will give their customers a common management platform which provides network visibility and control of their devices in both countries. There will also be a simplified single billing process to allow customers to enjoy better cost management and the convenience of receiving a consolidated bill.

"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 Diomedes Kastanis, Singtel's head of IoT. "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 ofcommercial uses such as smart metering for utilities, powering connected health and industrial appliances and smart city infrastructure, said the partners.

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

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

By integrating Singtel's IoT network functions into Microsoft Azure, IoT applications can migrate flexibly from devices to networks and to clouds seamlessly.

The platform will also tap Azure's cloud services including IoT Hub, IoT Edge and other machine learning and cognitive services to extend cloud intelligence and analytics to devices. Using AI layered into the network, the platform can deliver timely intelligence on the performance of applications and devices to facilitate better business decisions.

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