Natalie Bannerman speaks to Ivan Landen, CEO of Blue Wireless, about how the wireless telecoms sector is changing and his company’s place in it.
This interview was originally published by Capacity Media. You can find the original article in this link.
The world of wireless communications is continuing to evolve as the demands placed on it and new use cases for the technology are increasing. 2022 has been a year of tower deals, M&A and innovation in the space, and this is not showing any signs of slowing as we head into 2023.
One company making waves in this market is Blue Wireless – a relative newcomer based in Asia, led by its founder and chief executive, Ivan Landen.
“We’re an enterprise internet service provider,” says Landen. “It’s a bit of a new thing. Most telcos are doing wired, but we are a wireless internet service provider. We provide wireless 5G network connectivity to global enterprise customers.”
Launched in 2015 in Singapore, Landen says Blue Wireless has expanded its service capability to more than 80 countries, “where we deliver local wireless internet access to our customer base”.
The company’s 70-strong team is based in Singapore, Australia, Amsterdam, and a global support centre in Malaysia.
“Last year, we opened up in the US. Our US expansion is a key priority for us,” says Landen.
Like many other businesses in this sector, Blue Wireless is not exempt from the global talent shortage and skills deficit. Although Landen acknowledges that being based in Singapore has advantages when it comes to this.
“It’s a global phenomenon, the staff shortage, but there’s definitely differences in countries. I’d say, in Singapore it is still relatively easy to find talent compared to Europe or US,” says Landen. “Asia is still in a relatively good position in terms of talent, but there is a crunch. The good thing for us is that as a global company, customers can leverage our global capabilities.”
“I’ve been in telecommunications all my life,” says Landen, an industry veteran, who began his career at Infonet, prior to it being taken over by BT, and then moved on to work with StarHub and Expereo.
“In all that time I’d been selling access internet access. But in 2015 I said, ‘There must be a better way.’” That was Landen’s lightbulb moment. “Access was still too expensive. It was taking too long and we were waiting too long. So let’s try to build a new service offering that is based on wireless internet access, based upon LTE/4G and now 5G. We were trying to come up with a new concept for wireless internet access globally.”
The consensus across the industry is that while 5G is coming at pace, the rate of its deployment and adoption is slower than expected.