Axiata Digital to unveil mobile Internet gateway in Nepal

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Digital Services, a digital services unit of Axiata Group Bhd, is ready to introduce its Mobile Internet Fulfillment Exchange (MIFE) in Nepal, following the recent acquisition of mobile operator Ncell Pte Ltd by Axiata Group, said Axiata Digital Services chief executive officer Mohd Khairil Abdullah.

MIFE is an application programme interface (API) platform for all of its operating companies across Asia.

Mohd Khairil said MIFE would serve as a gateway for over-the-top companies to connect to the telco, and Axiata Digital is in the midst of integrating all of the services with its Nepal counterpart.

“MIFE enables consumers to access the premium short messages system product as well as authentication service offered by providers, and we try to build it in Nepal. 

“We have been offering the MIFE platform in the five markets where we have a presence and now we are going to Nepal, and probably Singapore and India after that,” he told Bernama on the second day of Wild Digital Conference 2016 on Thursday.

Axiata Digital aims to offer MIFE in all of its 10 markets by June next year.

“MIFE is a very low-cost platform. Capital expenditure (capex) to put MIFE is very low and once we get it (MIFE in Nepal) I think our business has nearly 14 million customers which is the same size as Celcom’s customer in Malaysia.

“Let’s say 10% of the population is mature enough to actually adopt this business, and that would be 1.4 million customers. I would take the 1.4 million customers anyway because the cost is very low,” Mohd Khairil said when asked on prospects of the Nepal market.

The capex allocation for the application, still under negotiation between Axiata Digital and its local partner, is estimated at less than US$200,000 (RM809,716), compared to the millions of dollars other information and technology platforms might cost.

Meanwhile, on its investment in the start-up companies, Mohd Khairil said Axiata Digital recently invested US$16mil (RM64.8mil) in Bengaluru-based StoreKing, an assisted e-commerce start-up which enables rural retailers to sell over 50,000 products to its walk-in customers via its digital kiosks.

“We invested in companies that would leverage on some of the telco’s assets.

Altogether, the group has 1.8 million retail points in the countries in which we have a presence,” he said.

He stressed that at the group level, Axiata would continue to look for attractive assets, but Axiata Digital will continue to seek startups and potential joint ventures. - Bernama

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