Friday, September 18, 2009

5th Asian Carriers’ Conference

The Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC) is an annual conference organized by the PLDT-SMART International & Carrier Business (ICS) Group. The event is attended by middle management to top executives from fixed and wireless telecommunications operators, equipment and software developers, VAS and VOIP providers, vendors and submarine cable operators from more than 44 countries to refresh business partnerships and explore new opportunities, negotiate and conclude agreements, to share insights, experiences and to learn of breakthroughs and innovations in the emerging marketplaces of Asia.

Going into full IP technology was one of the topics discussed during the 5th ACC held at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu City last September 9-12, 2009. The theme of this year’s ACC was “Pushing the Boundaries for Wholesale Carriers: Finding Silver Lining in the IP Cloud.”

The conference encourages telecommunications industry players to go beyond the boundaries of traditional business and exploit opportunities in the IP space. The 5th ACC is throwing the challenge to wholesale carriers to work closely together and realize revenue streams available over the internet.

Mr. Alejandro O. Caeg, Head of the International & Carrier Business (ICS), PLDT & SMART Communications, Inc. gave the welcome remarks on the evening of September 09, 2009.

Majority of the conference proper took place on September 10, 2009. Mr. Orlando O. Vea, PLDT Advisory Board and Chief Wireless Adviser of SMART Communications, Inc. delivered the keynote speech that morning. Among the presentors on that day were Stephane Dartige du Fournet, VP, Carrier Sales Asia, International Wholesale Solutions, Orange; Drew Kelton, Managing Director, Telstra International; Philippe Millet, Chairman, i3 Forum; Volker Burghardt, Director Business Development, Ancotel GmbH; and Dan Powdermaker, Sr. Vice President Sales & Marketing, Arbinet. A round table discussion was also conducted on the same day, which was moderated by Mathew Whalley, Editor of Capacity Magazine.

Day 3 of the conference, September 11, 2009, was primarily devoted to the individual workshops hosted by sponsors Global Crossing, Arbinet, NTT and Mera Systems. Also, viewing of the exhibits which opened on day 2 was ongoing. Booth exhibitors included PLDT & SMART; Orange; Telstra International; HKColo; Teliasonera, Ancotel and Voxbone. The conference was formally closed on September 11, again with Mr. Alejandro O. Caeg of ICS, PLDT-SMART giving the closing remarks.

Shift to IP-based services
The inevitable shift of the Philippines to Internet Protocol (IP)-based telecommunications, the future of the industry, from the existing radio signal-based global system for mobile communications (GSM), has foreseen challenges, including a massive capital expenditure, the need to interconnect and synchronize with other carriers and the need to develop new revenue generators as the traditional charges for voice calls could go obscure.

According to Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) spokesperson Ramon Isberto, while some telecom providers like PLDT are starting to convert their infrastructure to full IP, it will take time for Internet users to fully maximize the full experience of IP. The Philippines will be able to fully take advantage of the IP (Internet Protocol) technology in the next four to five years, until telecommunication carriers will be able to complete transporting infrastructure from analog and digital to IP.

Dan Ibarra, PLDT head for retail business group, additionally said that the market has not yet picked up on the IP trend. For mobile phones alone, only 10 percent of total units is third-generation (3G) mobile service- and IP-capable. Most of the 36 million phone users are still dependent on GSM-based services like texting and calling.

For the Philippines, there is one sign needed to determine whether Filipinos are ready to jump into the bandwagon. “The first sign should be when prices for 3G phones go down. It hasn’t yet,” Ibarra said. “It’s ultimately the consumers who will determine it. When customers start to see the value of 3G then that’s when you see it [IP shift] happening.”

Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony is the transmission of voice signals over the Internet, wide area network (WAN), or local area network (LAN). IP Telephony uses voice-over-IP to break down voice transmissions into packets of data and transmitting them across a network.

Once telecommunication infrastructure in the Philippines will be able to be IP compatible, Internet users will be expecting exciting new data services, such as live video streaming, among others, which are not offered by the traditional telecom infrastructure.

Going into full IP capability is part of the PLDT’s multi-billion-peso capital expenditure to convert old system to New Generation Network (NGN). PLDT, the country’s biggest carrier, is already partially IP capable, but still needs to do a lot of changes in the switches, core network and terminals, before declaring full IP.

At this time, since going into full IP is still new, Isberto said there are still a lot of technical issues that need to be looked into, players still has to familiarized some of the technological changes, bugs and glitches still are to be expecting in the early introduction of full IP.

The 5th ACC was sponsored by Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT); Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART); Symbio Networks; Orange (France Telecom); Telstra International; Belgacom International Carrier Services; Deutsche Telekom International Carrier Sales & Solutions (ICSS); Rogers Communications (Canadian communications and media company); Tata Communications; IDT Telecom Asia; Sprint; Ancotel; Directo; Verizon Business - International Partner Services (IPS); PCCW Global; TeliaSonera International Carrier; MERA Systems (together with CBoss and Telejet); Zoha Kish Telecom; HKCOLO; and Voxbone.

For more information on the conference, visit ACC at or contact the Secretariat at +63 32 231-5555, +63 32 234-0048, fax +63 32 234-0046 or email


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