UPDATE: TM invests RM350 million for 57% stake in P1 to roll out LTE services. More details here.
Months of speculation on who will acquire P1 may very well come to an end tomorrow if a media invite issued by Telekom Malaysia is anything to go by.
The invite issued today stated that Malaysia’s largest broadband provider “will be signing a milestone agreement with several industry players that are involved in wireless technologies for a collaboration which will bring immense benefit to the telecommunications industry as well as the Malaysian consumers at large.”
Interestingly both TM and Green Packet — the company that holds controlling stake in P1 — has suspended trading of share for tomorrow.
According to a Malaysian Reserve report citing sources close to the matter, TM is believed to have successfully acquired a controlling stake in 4G operator, P1.
“All details of the deal are being finalised. A signing ceremony between Green Packet and TM will be held soon.
“TM is buying a portion of Green Packet’s stake in P1,” said the source.
Predictably, TM has refused to comment on the matter but the prevailing rumour indicates that TM is expected to dish out over RM2 billion for P1 stake in a bit to expand its product portfolio beyond fixed broadband services.
The news brings to closure the much-delayed merger and acquisition exercise involving P1 since 2011, with the shortlisted potential buyers besides TM, included DiGi and YTL.
The merger is important to TM as it looks to diversify its business beyond fixed broadband services. Troubled 4G operator P1 owns valuable wireless spectrum, including the 2.3GHz band (that is currently being use for its WiMAX network), and the 2.6GHz band, which can be used for 4G LTE services. TM on the other hand, has the 450MHz and 850MHz bands that it has been using for CDMA voice and data services. While these lower bands can be used for LTE, the 2.6GHz band is one of the two widely accepted standard in Malaysia (the other being the 1800MHz band) allowing TM to tap into a bigger catalogue of LTE equipment and devices that in turn will make network expansion and subscriber acquisition relatively easier.
“If the deal happens, TM will gain access to P1’s existing customer base and valuable infrastructure that can be utilised by TM for faster growth in the wireless segment.
“TM will then be a very large player in the business, as they would have a combined deployment of low- and high-frequency bands,” an analyst told The Malaysian Reserve.
TM has set an ambitious target for its wireless business. By 2017, the operator wants to have 1 million wireless subscribers and the acquisition of P1’s 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum will be key to this goal. By acquiring P1, TM will not only have access to P1’s existing customer base but also to P1’s valuable infrastructure that consists of over 2,000 base stations nationwide including East Malaysia.
Read the full Malaysian Reserve report here.
TM which has strong footing in the fixed broadband business has plans to roll out LTE service this year. While it has allocation to operate with the 450MHz and 850MHz spectrum, it isn’t enough to deliver full 4G services especially data. Their lower frequency spectrum has the advantage of better coverage but it has limited capacity for high-speed data transfers. To fulfil the gap, TM needs to partner or acquire a telco that has allocation for the higher 2600MHz spectrum and P1 is currently looking like an ideal choice. Previously we heard that TM intends to roll out LTE by February and it is likely to be held back until this merger or acquisition is finalised.
Rolling out LTE will be a daunting task for TM and they have set an ambitious target of 1 million subscribers by 2017. By acquiring P1, it not only gives them a chunk of its existing customer base but also its valuable infrastructure that consists of over 2,000 base stations nationwide including East Malaysia. This would definitely give TM a good head start instead of rolling a new wireless network from scratch.
The report also added that while demand for fixed data is strong, it is seeing a slowdown in terms growth. This spurs the urgency to look into other potential areas such as wireless services. Considering the vast availability of 4G LTE devices even for entry level smart phones, wireless data is broadly seen as the next area of growth. At the moment, Maxis is a dominant 4G LTE player while Celcom, DiGi and U Mobile are aggressively expanding its coverage and services. If TM intends to be a formidable player, they would definitely need a fast forward route just to keep up with the competition.
So far there’s nothing official yet but we expect both P1 and its new buyer to make an announcement very soon.
[ SOURCE ]
It has been speculated for quite a while that Green Packet is selling a major stake of its P1 WiMAX business. Now Reuters has reported that the deal is more or less finalised and Green Packet will be announcing the successful buyer by the end of this month.
Its Managing Director and CEO, CC Puan is expected to make an announcement on the deal in the coming weeks. So far, it has been speculated that DiGi, TM and YTL are in talks in acquire a controlling stake of P1 for its wireless spectrum. Among the 3, YTL is the only provider with an active WiMAX service running under its Yes brand while DiGi has started its 4G LTE service in mid 2013. TM is said to be planning to roll out LTE services by this month.
P1 is currently allocated 30MHz in the 2.3GHz WiMAX band and 20MHz of the 2.6GHz 4G LTE spectrum. Such spectrum is very limited and is very valuable for other players that aims to grab a foothold in wireless game.
[ SOURCE ]
As companies are rushing to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, TM has announced that it will be discontinuing its 103 Directory Assistance service this Sunday, 16th February 2014. The service will be discontinued only for TM Residential customers and TM business customers will not be affected.
In case you’re wondering, TM’s 103 hotline is being managed by the Directory Service Centres located at Melaka, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching which has access to a database of fixed line phone numbers. When you call them up, they can provide the registered fixed line phone numbers simply by providing the person’s full name and location. If required, they can help to transfer you to the desired number at the end of the call. It is charged at RM0.30/call for TM fixed line users while mobile users will be charged more at RM2/call.
This is probably seen as an easy way to mine phone numbers which is why the service is coming to an end. TM will also cease to produce white pages as well. Hopefully we should be getting fewer unwanted tele-marketing calls after this.
While Najib is proud of cheap kangkung the rest of you may be more interested to know that apparently Malaysia has the most affordable internet in the world (or at least among emerging and developing countries).
This may be harder to swallow than a bunch of uncooked water spinach to some but in the Affordability Report 2013, an independent study done by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Malaysia tops the list among 46 emerging and developing countries including China, Brazil, Turkey and Hungary in terms of affordable internet.
Published on December 8, last year, the report presents an ‘Affordability Index’, which ranks nations across communications infrastructure and access and affordability indicators fundamental to achieving affordable Internet. The study also explores key barriers to affordable internet.
While many Malaysians lament that internet in Malaysia is still expensive compared to developed countries like Singapore and Korea, the study finds that Malaysia is on the right track noting that Government initiatives such as Public-Private Partnerships to expand broadband infrastructure and making basic internet access and equipment affordable for the low-income bracket through subsidies are bearing fruit. According to MCMC, four out of five Malaysians now have access to 3G.
This is a stark contrast to developing countries where people are living on less than US$2/day. In these countries, the report noted, entry-level broadband costs an average of 40% of monthly income and most cases basic internet exceeds 80% or 100%. As a result, billions cannot afford to get online, entrenching the digital divide and constraining economic and social progress.
Sonia Jorge, executive director of A4AI commented:
“Countries such as Malaysia, Brazil or Morocco, which top our Affordability Index, show how rapid progress can be made when innovative technologies are twinned with an enabling, forward-looking policy and regulatory environment which stimulates supply as well as demand. A4AI is committed to working hand-in-hand with countries to help drive down the cost of broadband.”
So what do you think? Feeling the good vibe? Internet in Malaysia may not be as cheap as some might like but it is certainly affordable and readily available compared to many countries even the developing ones. At the very least speeds have increased while prices have remained fairly constant and it’s certainly good that most local operators are not as restrictive with data quotas and usages as they can be. Let’s hope some things remain the same while other continue to improve
You can download the full report here.
For those needing more speed in the workplace, TM has introduced a 100Mbps UniFi package for businesses. The 100Mbps subscription is offered at RM1,599/month but as an early bird promotion, they are offering it at RM1,399/month.
In terms of speed, BIZ 100 offers 100Mbps download and 50Mbps upload and by default it comes with dynamic IP. Fixed IP is available as an add-on at RM200/month. The package also includes RM100 worth of voice calls and 10GB of web hosting.
For residential users, there’s a way to get 100Mbps for less with Time’s 100Mbps broadband at RM179/month. Of course it is subject to service availability which is rather limited compared to TM’s HSBB network.
For more info, head over to TM’s UniFi Biz page.
UPDATE: TM partners with Green Packet, P1 & SK Telekom to expedite roll out of LTE services. More details here.
After much speculation, TM has finally revealed that it is indeed planning to launch 4G LTE services in a bid to grow and protect its data services business.
In an interview with The Star, TM’s group CEO, Tan Sri Zam Isa explained that the company will be exploring wireless technologies for the expansion its wireless broadband services in underserved areas.
However it is not clear if the country’s largest telephony and broadband provider will expand its business into the mobile space or if it will use LTE to provide broadband services to areas too expensive to serve with fibre or copper. It’s likely that TM is keeping its options open but expect the company to start with a nomadic service when it kicks off its LTE service.
Commercial service is expected to start in February 2014 and the company targets to have 100,000 users on its LTE network within 2014 and more than one million LTE subscribers by 2017.
TM is no stranger when it comes to wireless networks. Currently, it uses CDMA technology to provide broadband and telephony services in areas where it is not feasible to provide connectivity via copper or fibre but the number of subscribers who are on TM’s CDMA network is low compared to GSM mobile operators. On top of that, LTE is a whole new ballgame for TM and it will be coming into the field as the underdog with everything to prove.
Assuming the February 2014 timeline is solid, 1 million subscribers within 3 years is an ambitious projection and a challenging one as well because TM will have to compete against strong incumbents like Maxis and Celcom.
It’s going to be tough but TM is familiar with massive challenges. It’s UniFi project is internationally recognised as one of the fastest and largest HSBB rollout in the world. From infrastructure to service, the project was completed in just 18 months.
2014 is going to be interesting for broadband in Malaysia. It’s going to be interesting to see if TM can repeat the success of UniFi. It’s not going to be easy. With UniFi, TM didn’t have competitors to worry about, the company’s foray into LTE will arguably be more challenging. TM has to build a wireless network from scratch and at the same time compete with established competitors in a very crowded market. Can TM do it? Share your thoughts.
Naturally most users will compare P1 Fiber service directly with the other HSBB players such as Unifi and Maxis. Although they looked the same there’s a big difference in terms of bundled extras such as voice calls, IPTV, add-on broadband and etc. Click on the table above to view the comparison.
In terms of all round solution, TM has a well balanced offering with unlimited calls to TM’s wide network of nationwide fixed lines and HyppTV IPTV service. For those who are already a Maxis subscribers and make more phone calls to Maxis numbers and overseas, their Home Broadband solution seems to more inticing with its generous bundling of voice calls including IDD and mobile. For P1, the key differentiation would be the 1Mbps mobile broadband with dedicated 3GB of quota. Despite having the “OnePlan” naming, the mobile broadband doesn’t share the home broadband quota.
All 3 come with 24 months contract and charges RM200 for installation. Currently TM and Maxis are waiving the installation charges. In terms of Fair Use Policy (FUP) enforcement, both TM & Maxis have yet to impose them which means it is still unlimited download for now.
P1’s Fiber service is expected to be launched this week and they are likely to offer introductory promotions to entice new subscribers. All P1 Fiber details above are derived from yesterday’s discovery. To stay competitive, P1 might just offer installation waiver and unlimited quota for a limited time.
UPDATE: Paul Tan also pointed out that if you’re looking for a fixed IP connection on the cheap. Maxis offers fixed IP across all it’s business FTTH packages even the entry-level 4Mbps RM188/month plan. UniFi on the other hand, does not offer fixed IP for its cheapest BIZ5 RM199/month plan.
If you’re looking for a fibre broadband connection, there are alternatives to TM’s UniFi. There’s Time Fibre which offers FTTH service, but its limited service locations means its not really a feasible alternative for the masses. Then there’s Maxis FTTH which offers a low entry point for those looking at a cheap and reliable FTTH broadband solution.
But so far, the alternatives has been mostly focused on consumer plans, now Maxis has upped the ante with a range of FTTH packages catered for businesses with packages that nicely fills in the gaps of UniFi’s BIZ offerings. So let’s see how the Maxis plans stack up against the TM’s UniFi.
Where UniFi offers three packages — BIZ5 (RM199/month), BIZ10 (RM599/month) and BIZ20 (RM899/month), Maxis offers up four — 4Mbps (RM188/month), 8Mbps (RM388/month), 16Mbps (RM688/month) and 32Mbps (RM988).
Twitter has become a legitimate avenue for customers to be heard both by other consumers as well as brands that are vying for their affection. Also, increasingly, Twitter has become an additional channel for brands to effectively track and address customer issues.
The latest to join the bandwagon and use Twitter as a customer service channel is TM. The brand today launched @TMConnects, a specific channel to address TM-service related support and queries. In terms of social media, TM was slow off the starting blocks being one of the last amongst the telecommunications providers to come on the social media space, but as they say, better late than never.
Looks like things are indeed turning around at TM and we applaud the telecommunications juggernaut’s brave move to bring more depth in its engagement with its customers online. The decision to come on Twitter is by no means easy for Malaysia’s biggest telecommunications company. Pleasing millions of customers and getting the right message across with just 140 characters will be a challenge for the new customer support channel but it is off on the right foot by making clear some rules of engagement to establish the right framework in conversations with fellow Twitter followers.
At the end of the day, the proof is in eating the pudding. The @TMConnects now needs to show how timely. proactive and social it is in addressing customer issues. Good luck guys.
Follow @TMConnects here. So what do you think of TM’s move to have customer support on Twitter?
On a side note. Of late we’re been experiencing sporadic network performance with our UniFi account. A quick check on Twitter reveals that we’re not alone. Over the weekend, there was a spike (as far as we can observe) in the number of complaints and negative mentions about the performance of Streamyx and UniFi especially at night. We hope the TM techs are resolving the matter.