PLDT Global Corp. Pacific Telecommunications Council

PTC conference underscores role of collaboration during a pandemic

Leadership, teams, and resources allocation are vital tools in moving the (ICT) information and communications technology industry move forward during a pandemic, according to Mitch Lowe, co-founder of Netflix and Redbox, during the “PTC ’21: New Realities” conference.

The conference was spearheaded by the Pacific Telecommunications Council, in cooperation with the PLDT Global Corp. (PGC)-backed Asian Carriers Conference. It was moderated by Cathy Yap-Yang, FVP and group head for Corporate Communications, PLDT Inc. PGC is the international arm of the Philippine telecommunications firm PLDT.

The conference zeroed in on the importance of collaboration and strategic actions in order to deliver better services to customers.  

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Lowe emphasized how leadership should embrace and support changes meted out by the pandemic, and look for people who care for the company. Co-panelists Eric Cevis, group president at Verizon Partner Solutions for Verizon Communication Services Inc.; Ravi Mahalingam, SVP at HGC International Business; Emmanuel Rochas, CEO at Orange International Carriers; and Elisabetta Romano, CEO at Telecom Italia Sparkle, agree the new normal has yielded a heightened sense of collaboration and partnership to serve customers better.

International voice management

Rochas considered Orange’s partnership with the PLDT Group a “powerful example of what a partnership can bring.” The collaboration between two companies began pre-pandemic, which circled around international voice management to provide better quality and value to clients.

In 2020, The Orange wholesale arm, International Carriers, has signed a partnership deal with PLDT for international voice aggregation services to deliver better quality of service to millions of customers globally. As the preferred aggregator for voice traffic, Orange handles all global inbound traffic terminating on the PLDT and Smart network.

Verizon ensured collaboration among employees and partners was not disrupted by leveraging digital platforms.

Mahalingam said that at the infrastructure level, partnerships and collaboration are now facing a deeper integration from the international side with the domestic side, highlighting “fiberization” and network-enablement. He noted that companies should start prioritizing investing in software to empower the services that telco and tech companies are offering, stating that “end-to-end has gone deeper.”


The speakers also noted how the pandemic brought technology companies together to help the world deal with a crisis. Calling it “coopetition,” the participants saw the opportunity to help companies while dealing with challenges themselves.

Sparkle’s Romano said that openness has always been a challenge for providers, and that, now, the changing landscape has introduced a new keyword in this space: coopetition where telcos learned how to cooperate with each other, despite being competitors.  

“We’re collaborators more than competitors,” Yang said. “We collaborate first and foremost, and then we become ‘coopetitors,’ helping keep that laser focus on our customers and our employees because we got to steer together as an industry to get to a better normal.” 

Digital transformation

The panelists cannot emphasize enough how the pandemic accelerated digital transformation making work-from-home possible making the role of telecommunications companies more crucial than before.

The accelerating trends in streaming services for entertainment and content have also challenged the process of discovery, in a world where people are staying more at home.

While the health crisis has forced people to be socially distant, telcos and technology have empowered and connected individuals and businesses to each other. And for Lowe, the industry has just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible. But at the end of the day, it is all about building meaningful connections.