CEO of DOCOMO PACIFIC
Roderick Boss has worked in the telecommunications industry for over two decades, and has extensive experience in Asian markets. “I started my telecom career with AT&T back in the 80’s, just after divestiture from Bell. It was a great place to start in telecom because AT&T had probably the best network in the world - it had Bell laboratories and a great training program. It was a great place to start out,” he recalls. “Not long after that I went to Japan. I had already spent a number of years there earlier in my career and spoke Japanese, so I ended up working in a succession of telecommunications companies there that were in the wireline, wireless, broadband and subsea cables business.”
He credits this well-rounded background with preparing him for the diverse nature of DOCOMO PACIFIC’s business model. “All of that experience comes together at DOCOMO PACIFIC, because we’re a quad play operation, and the biggest player in the region,” he explains. “Television was probably the only area where I hadn't had experience before joining. It’s been interesting to learn about that business.”
Boss joined DOCOMO PACIFIC in the summer of 2018 and has since taken control of the company’s growing 5G ambitions, as well as the transformation of its television broadcasting business, which is pivoting towards the developing OTT market. He reflects on the recent COVID-19 lockdown, noting that recent events appear to be accelerating already existing trends. “We’ve seen a big shift from voice to data. That evolution, which we’ve seen take place over the past four or five years has been really good for our business,” he says. “It’s been fascinating during the shutdown here to see our mobile data usage increase about 20%, while our SMS actually decreased by about 30%. More and more our fixed network is becoming very central to our overall operation, and mobile is more or less just a way to connect to that fixed platform.”
The relation between the recent lockdown and DOCOMO PACIFIC’s internal strategy has also been an interesting experience for Boss. “Obviously, the ability to stay connected remotely is a service we sell to people, so we were in a good position to move to that very quickly. What’s been really interesting about this time is that, as I see us starting to come back into the office - we’re probably about 10% back in the office at the moment - I actually see these virtual work practices extending far beyond the pandemic. The technology has always been available, but I don’t think we fully understood the utility that it afforded us.” DOCOMO PACIFIC had already been using Microsoft Teams since before the pandemic, but its usage of the service has skyrocketed since March. Boss reflects that during that time, “I probably talk to my staff more since we’ve gone into lockdown than I would have before when I was in the office. We recognise the merits of these practices and I think that, across the industry, that’s going to extend beyond this pandemic. I think it’s fundamentally changing the way we work.”
Prior to joining DOCOMO PACIFIC, Boss worked at AirTouch, AT&T, Japan Telecom America and Pacific Crossing Limited. He attended Brigham Young University from 1980 to 1983 and has a masters degree in international management and marketing from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
When it gets difficult, this is what really gets me excited. I believe that such transformation scenarios can only be solved and addressed. But you have to do this as a team - you cannot do it as a one-man show.