Edotco, the telecommunications infrastructure company under the Axiata Group, has reiterated its commitment to enhancing equitable connectivity in Asia by using its solutions such as Network and Planning Analytics (NaPA) and Digital Twin to facilitate the impending 5G rollout in its nine markets. It aims to become one of the world’s top five Tower Companies (TowerCos).
Edotco Group Director and CEO, Mohamed Adlan Ahmad Tajudin said “We want to be the tower company of choice, delivering value to our customers in terms of price, efficiency, and productivity, and collaborating with MNOs to increase their revenue generation potential. We also intend to expand into several new markets in Southeast Asia and South Asia, completing our presence in the region over the next few years. This expansion is required to ensure that the company continues to deliver scale while solidifying our foothold in the region and solidifying our position as the leading pan-Asian next-generation TowerCo.”
To ensure new towers are erected effectively in areas lacking internet connectivity, their NaPA tool is used to provide insights into potential locations for new tower sites, while reducing build and delivery time. According to Edotco, NaPA uses geocoding and analytics to generate coordinates with granularity and accuracy. Used since 2019, the company claims that it has been able to identify potential coordinates for future infrastructure development.
With NaPA, Edotco has identified and installed 113 sites that meet the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) objectives as well as 223 sites for Jalingan Digital Negara (JENDELA) initiative. The tool was developed in-house by Edotco’s engineers to proactively assist telcos to be more efficient in achieving their planning objectives.
After a tower is deployed, there’s always a need to monitor the infrastructure closely. Traditionally, a field data capture of the towers would require manual inspection which is not only time-consuming and expensive but it is risky as well. Edotco uses Digital Twin, a solution that uses drones to capture a digital copy of the physical asset to assist customers in interacting, analysing, simulating, predicting and improving performance remotely, without requiring a person to be physically present at the tower sites.
The drones can perform fully autonomous data capture of the physical structure. Utilising analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), the solution can capture, label and calculate with auto report generation. The system can also provide a high-resolution inspection of the equipment and it also helps with planning for future upgrades. This AI-powered tower inspection solution by drone was also implemented by Maxis back in 2019 under its Project SkyEye.
Edotco believes that faster network infrastructure rollout can contribute to digital inclusivity only if the cost of access is within reach of the masses. It said that TowerCos are best positioned to help telcos by moving up their value chain to offer more innovative 5G-enabled solutions such as OpenRAN, Network-as-as-Service solutions and Edge Computing to help telcos deploy their own cost-effective and network-efficient solutions.
The infrastructure company says the lowering of cost per GB of data can only be done reliably through a higher degree of network sharing. It believes TowerCos can contribute to this endeavour by deepening tower sharing, using advanced data analytics, especially around power systems, as well as innovating next-generation solutions such as 5G-enabled street furniture, zero-touch operations and delivering scale-based cost advantage to the industry.
Edotco has recently expanded its operations in the Southeast Asian market. They recently acquired close to 3,000 towers in the Philippines in a deal that’s described as the largest purchase of Philippine assets by foreign investors. They have also acquired approximately 1,000 towers in Indonesia from XL Axiata. At the moment, Edotco has a diverse portfolio of more than 50,000 towers in 9 countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Laos.