Innovation, Career Paths

Then and Now: A Networks Story – Tan Wee Siang

Published 02 Oct 2019 by Isabelle Yuen

Wee Siang first joined Singtel in 2005 and was assigned to run Operations for the SMSC, the system that enabled SMS on mobile phones. 2005 was the dawn of the age of mobile phones and the existence of the internet, and at the time this was an important role, as SMS text messaging was the main mode of communications for many.

Q. What made you apply for a job in Singtel?

A. Singtel has always been one of those few companies which transformed the lives of people through the services it brought to its customers. One such example is the Mobile services, it not only transformed the way people connected, but the whole lifestyle of people. And that is what attracted me to Singtel as a young graduate. And this remains true through the years, as Singtel continues to push the boundaries of technologies, bringing 3G, 4G and other services, which continues to make a difference to everyone’s life.

Q. Could you share with us a meaningful first experience that you had in Singtel?

A. That would be the first time we virtualised a Network Function, which involved uploading all the network node functions onto the cloud. That was a really exciting first step for us, because it was the first step towards the transformation of Singtel networks. Singtel is a visionary company and this first step towards the virtualization of network functions reinforces our goal of company-wide digitalisation, which is the future of technology.

Q. Please tell us more about your current role in Network Cloud Engineering.

I’m responsible for building and operating the virtualised network infrastructure based on web-scale technologies, which will host and enable key network functions such as 4G, Fixed Voice and other Value-Added Services. This is one of the foundation pillars of our transformation program enable a smart and programmable Network. I see myself playing a critical role in the transformation of Singtel Networks, and I believe this will enable Singtel to stay ahead of its competition, allowing it to roll out innovations to our customers in a timelier manner.

Q. You’ve worked at Singtel for 14 years. What are the major changes you experienced or observed from the time you first joined, up until now?

A. The telecommunications industry has certainly undergone quite a significant change since the time I joined. I’ve seen the arrival of smart phones and how tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon changed the whole technology landscape. Through this time, I’ve also seen how Singtel has adapted and kept up with the changes around it, not merely by staying relevant, but by being a leader in innovation. It has evolved from being just a telecommunications company to so much more.

Singtel has really offered a broad spectrum of opportunities through the years I’ve spent in Singtel, and one of the more exciting ones would have to be the opportunity to work with a start-up in the US to co-develop a Social Mobile App for Singtel Digital Life. Not only does it present an opportunity to create something that is radically different from our work in core businesses, it also gave me a valuable experience working with a foreign start-up, at a pace and agility not found in other large organizations.

Q. Do you have any advice to offer anyone interested in working in Network Cloud Engineering like yourself?

A. Be prepared for challenges and embrace changes. Challenges and changes have always been a constant throughout my time in Singtel. With the advancement of 5G on the horizon, this will be even more relevant.

Q. How would you describe your experience working with your team in the Networks department?

A. Our team has a good mix of both young and experienced talents. What characterizes this team is our spirit to challenge the boundaries, to not be contented with the status quo, and to dare to venture to uncharted territories in the realm of technologies. There are always challenges, uncertainties and stress in our daily jobs, but as a team, there’s nothing we haven’t been able to manage together. There was one occasion where our team had a rough time during a novel project where we were to digitalise our networks. It wasn’t easy, and there were with many sceptics challenging the feasibility and value of our work. I am very proud that the team managed to rise above the challenges, with teams carrying out different functions being able to coordinate and collaborate well to realise the implementation. We really pushed the boundaries beyond what we thought we were capable of.

Interested in joining our Singtel Networks team? Come on down to Singtel@8George for a Networks event on 17 October, 6pm to start a conversation with us. Register for the event here by 06 Oct 2019.

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