Since and even before the launch of Keppel Corp’s Vision 2030 last year, the conglomerate has been busy realigning its various businesses. This includes telecommunications company M1, which has been under the company’s majority control following a privatisation exercise in 2019.

On Feb 23, M1 unveiled a refreshed brand identity backed by a full digital transformation. The telco aims to become Singapore’s first digital network operator and change the way it engages its customers. Rather than selling subscribers a handful of fixed mobile plans, it is touting its new made-to-measure offerings.

More importantly, the revamp of M1 is aligned with Keppel’s new strategy. The latter wants to become an integrated company offering sustainable urbanisation solutions. With M1’s digital transformation and refreshed branding, Keppel believes it can better tap the telco’s digital solutions and 5G network to provide enhanced solutions for sustainable urbanisation.

Under Vision 2030, M1 has been reclassified under Keppel’s connectivity business together with Keppel Data Centres and Keppel Logistics. The telco was previously housed under the company’s investment business, which included Keppel Capital, Keppel Urban Solutions (KUS) and KrisEnergy.

As part of the digital transformation, M1 will transition its capabilities to the cloud. The telco will also streamline over 200 databases onto a “single data lake” and pursue automation of certain customer-facing touchpoints. It will also further personalise products, services and business solutions more rapidly and accurately.

Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel, says the current synergy between M1 and Keppel’s other businesses has thus far exceeded expectations. For instance, he notes that the telco’s high-speed network has enabled Keppel to enhance safety and productivity at its yards. Keppel was also able to leverage M1’s network for the deployment of the company’s first autonomous vessel in Singapore.

Moreover, the company’s power retailer Keppel Electric was able to collaborate with the telco to bundle its services. In addition, Keppel is in a tie-up with DBS Bank to jointly develop digital banking solutions using M1’s 5G network. Both parties will jointly create bundled services across mobile, fibre and electricity packages to acquire new customers and enhance value for existing customers.

With Vision 2030, Loh foresees more synergistic opportunities to realise. M1’s 5G network will be part of the infrastructure for “smart cities” to be built by KUS and Keppel Land. These include the construction of energy-efficient retail cooling systems and street lighting; smart metering for monitoring and predictive maintenance; water-sensitive urban design features to enhance flood resiliency and biodiversity; smart Internet of Things (IoT) home devices and smart car-parking solutions.

These smart systems will be governed under an integrated digital platform called Keppel Smart City Operating System (KOS), owned and operated by KUS. With KOS’s open standards environment and insight-driven data analytics, KUS can deliver greater efficiency in designing, developing and operating urban developments. The digital platform will also connect the company’s assets and developments globally.

“We’re not just looking at providing the physical infrastructure to build a new urban development, that has a clean environment [and] all the trimmings of what living in a modern urban metropolis is. But I think the key now is really about connectivity. This is where M1 can play a Revamp of M1 aligns it with Keppel’s Vision 2030 part,” Loh says at the launch of the telco’s new brand identity.

M1 could also collaborate with Keppel’s other consumer-facing businesses, according to Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of M1. For instance, the telco’s bundled services with Keppel Electric could be extended to include those of Keppel Gas, he said at the launch.

Overall, Loh is optimistic on the collective prospects of M1 with Keppel. “These are very exciting times for M1 — with its new identity and enhanced offerings; for Keppel, as we execute vision 2030; and for the broader public through the many digital connectivity solutions that we will provide as we contribute to a better, more connected and more sustainable world,” he says.

In FY2020 ended Dec 31, 2020, M1 contributed $65 million in revenue to Keppel’s top line, down 11% y-o-y due mainly to the impact of the pandemic on roaming and prepaid revenues. This was despite the telco having increased its market share to become the second-largest postpaid base in Singapore, based on both the number of customers and revenue.