Many of you might not have heard of Webe, but after today’s set of events, they’re probably going to be on everyone’s lips. We have speculated in the past that Webe might become the next 4G LTE operator (under P1 and TM) and it looks like our suspicions might have just become reality.
What’s more, it also seems that Webe might just have the best mobile 4G LTE plan yet.
For a long time now, the 4G operator scene in Malaysia has been dominated by four companies — Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile. However, at the end of last year, we reported that there would be a new player entering the scene in 2016 and it seems this could be it.
The mobile industry is a booming one, with more and more industry players want to get a slice of it, be it manufacturers or telco providers. Set to be the latest horse to enter the race, TM is setting its sights on a 2016 entry into the mobile telco industry in Malaysia. This will complicate things, to say the least, for the existing four players – Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U Mobile.
If there’s one operator that’s got a point to prove, it’s P1. And if P1 has only one point to make, loud and clear to you, it would be this – the challenger operator is making a comeback. Network performance, customer service quality and trust issues are just some of the many things that need fixing at P1, and the two foremost executives in the company – Kelvin Lee and Azizi A. Hadi – know exactly what to do to turn P1 around.
Kelvin Lee is no stranger to P1, having been part of the Green Packet family for a good ten years. In 2011, Kelvin was asked by CC Puan, the CEO of P1, to join P1 in the role of Chief Commercial Officer to manage the sales and customer services of P1’s products and services. A veteran in Green Packet and P1, Kelvin has been through it all. And yet, the upbeat, approachable techie, is more energetic than ever, ready to transform P1 to become one of the country’s most innovative mobile operator.
His optimism and energy is understandable, Kelvin has an experienced point man watching his guard. Azizi in his role as P1’s COO, is a new joiner but is no stranger to the telco industry given his wealth of experience in TM for the past eight years covering various roles from oversight of migrating from a digital to fully IP network, the HSBB (high speed broadband) rollouts to the SME business segment management.
Kelvin and Azizi believe that P1, with full support from, Telekom Malaysia and SK Telecom, two giants from the telecommunications world – both with considerable investments in P1 – and a team of experts that’s now more pumped up than ever, is now in the best position to shake up the telecommunications space in Malaysia with the promise of being country’s first ever fully converged telecommunications provider.
But what does this mean to you? Are you ready for a fully converged telecommunications provider?
Watch as Kelvin and Azizi explain why 2015 is going to be the year for P1 and you.
In today’s announcement event, TM will be signing a partnership with Green Packet, SK Telecom and P1 for the development for a converged next-gen communication services. This signifies TM’s strong desire to venture into the wireless broadband space particularly LTE services.
In this partnership, TM is expected to anchor and take the lead while Green Packet that have founded P1 WiMAX will ensure P1’s business continuity. SK Telekom being a major wireless player in South Korea will be providing strategic and technical expertise. Through the collaboration, they will be focusing on delivering high quality LTE data services leveraging on P1’s 2.6GHz spectrum and its network of over 2,000 sites nationwide. P1 owns the valuable 50MHz spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands.
TM will hold 57% stake in P1 by injecting RM350 million into the wireless operator. Through the partnership, P1 will be a subsidiary under TM. In addition, TM will also invest up to RM210 million into Green Packet through redeemable exchangeable bonds. The investment is made through Mobikom Sdn Bhd which is a wholly owned subsidiary of TM.
According to TM Group CEO, Tan Sri Zam, the partnership is in line’s with TM’s vision of being an Information Exchange and Malaysia’s Broadband Champion. The partnership provides an LTE-ready platform to efficiently roll out wireless broadband products and accelerate time to market for its consumers.
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.
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.
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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.
While speed is everything when you’re surfing internet superhighway on the world wide web, the same can’t be said when you’re cruising down a highway of the asphalt kind. In the real world, speed is not everything and sometimes, fast is too fast. Case in point.
Drive safe people.
We have information confirming that P1 is currently experiencing a nationwide service interruption affecting a large number of subscribers possibly in the tens of thousands.
We first picked-up reports on the disruption at 1900hrs and at time of writing P1 via its customer service account, @P1Cares, says that its engineers are working on the issue. The account didn’t indicate on when it expects the P1 service to be fully restored.
A quick check on Twitter and Facebook reveals that the service interruption extends to multiple states. We attempted to call the P1 Customer Careline at 1-300-800-888 for more information but the line is engaged.
If you are P1 subscriber, we would like to hear from you. Let us know if you are able to connect to the internet on your P1 connection.