Singtel strikes green AI and datacentre partnerships

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Jan 31, 2024

  • Singtel has teamed up with Nvidia to advance its AI strategy in South-east Asia
  • The Singaporean telco turned to energy partners to build a power- and water-efficient datacentre portfolio
  • It also plans to create a sustainable datacentre platform, better suited for the AI era

Singtel has signed new partnerships to advance AI development in South-east Asia and to help it press ahead with its goal to build sustainable and hyper-connected AI-ready datacentres.

The Singaporean telco’s new initiative will see it partner with a range of global and local companies in the areas of AI, renewable energy, sustainable technologies and talent development. This move comes alongside efforts to scale its regional datacentre business, which has been rebranded as Nxera and has recently entered new markets, such as Indonesia and Thailand.

A main staple of its initiative is a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global AI chipset leader Nvidia. The telco’s standalone infrastructure unit, Digital InfraCo, has agreed to collaborate with Nvidia to support Singapore’s National AI Strategy 2.0, a plan initiated by the Singaporean government to boost innovation, advance AI developments and maximise value creation. Singtel will become a Nvidia cloud partner in the region, which will enable it to “democratise AI access for enterprises” to Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU) clusters hosted on Nxera’s AI DC platform in the region.

“Customers can leverage Singtel’s extensive fixed broadband network, submarine cables and 5G high-speed network connectivity together with the patented Paragon cloud platform to orchestrate their AI workloads in a multinetwork and multicloud environment. Nxera will also provide customers with carrier neutrality to meet all their connectivity resiliency needs,” the company noted in a statement unveiling the move.

In another endeavour, Singtel will look to make its datacentres across its operations net zero by 2028. This will be enabled through renewable energy partnerships with several energy players, including Sembcorp in Singtel, and Gulf Energy, Medco Power and TNB Renewables in the region.

The Singaporean operator is also aiming to develop “the most sustainable” datacentre platform to power the AI era. It is partnering with local enterprises Deston and SGP Global, as well as global leaders QCT, Shell, Stulz and Supermicro, to create a co-innovation platform to develop and test liquid and immersion cooling, as well as water-saving technologies. Once operationalised, the solutions are set for commercial deployments, including at Singtel’s datacentre in Tuas, Singapore, and other datacentres in the region.

The telco’s datacentre unit also intends to develop a smart internet of things (IoT) and digital twin platform, in a tie-up with software company Red Dot Analytics, to monitor, manage and optimise its datacentre operations, with a view to improving energy efficiency and operational resiliency.

Finally, the Singaporean telco plans to create a new regional training academy that prepares new talent for the datacentre industry, which is “facing a shortage due to the rapid growth in datacentre capacity in South-east Asia”. The facility, dubbed the Regional Sustainable Data Centre Academy, will launch in mid-2024 and is expected to train more than 150 students per year, with a focus on sustainability and high-density AI environments.

“As we build out our datacentre business, we are putting in place a purpose-driven, fully aligned group of ecosystem partners with distinctive capabilities and unique platforms that will help us grow this digital infrastructure in an AI world – sustainably and responsibly. This means democratising AI access for enterprises, introducing renewable energy and sustainable technologies, and helping produce the talent for our new generation of datacentres,” said Bill Chang, CEO of Nxera and Singtel’s Digital InfraCo unit.

Singtel’s ambitious move comes less than a year after a major overhaul of its business structure, including the establishment of Digital InfraCo as a standalone unit consisting of its datacentre business, its subsea cable and satellite carrier businesses, and Paragon, its all-in-one platform for 5G multi-access edge computing (MEC) and cloud orchestration.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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