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The state of telcos in Asia

Zafar Anjum | June 3, 2014
Interview with Suresh Bhatt, Head of Telecoms in South East Asia, Tech Mahindra

Suresh bhatt

Suresh Bhatt, Head of Telecoms in South East Asia, Tech Mahindra

Imagine you are watching a TV show and you like the Prada suit that one of the actors is wearing. You want to know where to get it from, and your telco allows you to find out this bit of information that you want.

On the other hand, the telco informs the retailer or manufacturer (Prada) that certain customers are interested in their products and they can establish a connection with the interested customers directly ( lead generation).

This kind of an interaction between telcos, manufacturers or retailers and costumers is going to be a reality soon thanks to the technology platform developed by Tech Mahindra.

I was talking with Suresh Bhatt, Head of Telecoms in South East Asia, Tech Mahindra, a few weeks ago when this fascinating scenario emerged during the interview.

Indian IT services  company Tech Mahindra is a USD 3.1 billion company with 89,000 professionals across 51 countries, helping over 629 global customers including Fortune 500 companies.

Based in Singapore, Bhatt has recently taken over this responsibility that covers the entire region of approximately 4500 employees.

During the interview, we touched upon many areas starting with the state of the telecoms in the Southeast Asian region to machine to machine communication and the Internet of Things.

But first up, I ask him what changes he has brought in his company after assuming the new leadership position.

"We took a step back to see where we have done well and where our competitors have done better than us," he says. "So we took a baseline approach. We identified one or two countries where we can do better so there we have made arrangements-both in terms of sales, pre-sales and support structure. We are going to hire and expand the team."

Main challenges for the telco industry in Southeast Asia 

"All these markets are fairly saturated," says Bhatt. "Everyone has multi-devices. So the biggest challenge the telcos face today is cost pressure because they want to increase their margins. Second, there is no net addition available in the market to increase the subscriber base. The last and the most important (question for a telco) is how do I grow. These are three things they are grappling with (in the region)."

Bhatt is more familiar with markets like Singapore, Philippines, and Malaysia but he is learning more about other markets such as Indonesia and Hong Kong.

"I find the market on fairly similar lines," he says about these two markers. "However, the difference is that in markets like Indonesia there are more players in the market. It is a crowded market. There does seem to be some room for consolidation. Some of them are doing relatively better than others."


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