Telekom Malaysia Bhd. (TM), Packet One Networks Sdn. Bhd. (P1), Green Packet Bhd. and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom have agreed to extend the longstop date for TM’s investment in P1 by two months until September 30th, 2014, according to Digital News Asia (DNA). The extension is to give TM more time to obtain necessary approvals from local telecommunications industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
On March 27th, 2014, TM, Malaysia’s largest fixed-line telco, announced that it had agreed to buy a majority stake in P1 for RM350 million and would invest a further RM210 million into P1’s parent company, Green Packet, through the purchase of 8-year redeemable exchangeable secured bonds that could be swapped for P1 shares held by Green Packet at a later date.
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.
Today TM is expected to acquire a major stake in P1 making it a strong wireless player in Malaysia. Both TM and Greenpacket – its holding company, has suspended trading of share today, adding more fuel to its earlier speculation.
The acquisition will give TM a good head start with their LTE roll out as it will gain an existing subscriber base and access to P1’s 2,000 over base stations across the country. Most importantly is P1’s valuable spectrum which they have rights to operate WiMAX at 2.3GHz and 4G LTE at 2.6MHz. This compliments TM’s existing spectrum at 450MHz and 850MHz.
It is no secret that TM plans to venture into the wireless business and has set high targets of 1 million subscribers by 2017. By acquiring an establish wireless operator, TM will catapult itself forward in the 4G LTE race.
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.
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Update: We downloaded the case study again to see if Green Packet rectified the error and they did. At the same time, we got a comment from a person claiming to be the Marketing Director of Green Packet, Carol Koh explaining how the major mix up happened. We can verify on the authenticity of the person behind the comment but check revealed that there is indeed a Carol Koh in Green Packet and she is the Marketing Director of the company. Below is the comment in verbatim:
Hi, I’m the Marketing Director of Greenpacket Solutions. We do take these things seriously, so thank you for pointing out this human error on the design & layout stage, which would otherwise undermine the case study. The pain and anxiety the team is feeling right now is punishment enough. The team had been forgiven after they promised to never make the same mistake again.
Miss Koh claims that the version of the case study in which we spotted the grave error was a “design & layout stage” version. If that was indeed the case, it shouldn’t be made available for download in the first place. In fact the, “design & layout stage” version has been on Green Packet’s website for public download since January 31, 2011.
A case study is a tremendously important piece of work. It is a highly detailed document providing in-depth investigation findings on a subject. Organisations use it to establish credibility, to showcase how effective a product has been in a certain application. Generally, it is a document that tells its readers “hey so and so is good and we’ve got the findings to back it up”.
In P1’s and Green Packet’s case, a case study is a demonstration of how they can’t even be bothered to read their own material.
P1 and it’s parent company recently released a case study entitled “P1 4G staying one step ahead” and it talks about how P1 is a “successful” 4G operator and how Green Packet has been instrumental in making P1 a success.
Although we don’t agree with the contents of the case study, both P1 and Green Packet have their justifications, but that’s not the interesting part. If you go through the document available for download here, you will notice that there is a glaring and terribly embarrassing mistake.
There are two quote boxes in the article highlighting two different high level persons in the P1 organization, one the CEO, Micheal Lai and the other Ti Lian Seng, the VP of Technology. The funny thing is both are saying exactly the same thing.
How did this happen? We don’t know but by our reckoning it is conceivable that neither Mr. Lai and Mr. Ti had even read their respective quotes before the call was made to publish the case study, and to us that tells you so much more about both company than any case study ever can.
P1‘s WiMAX network has had somewhat of an unfortunate reputation of late. Plagued by persistent outages overly, congested networks and poor coverage inside of buildings, Malaysia’s leading WiMAX operator is strugling to deliver a consistently stable network.
Somewhat admitting that it’s subsidiary is having network stability issues, P1’s parent company, Green Packet announced that it aims to enhance network stability considerably by the third quarter of this year. A report in TheEdge states that Green Packet aims to reduce continuity incidences to below 5% by the third quarter of this year and below 2% in 2011.
The numbers may seem low, but the report didn’t state what is the benchmark for “continuity incidences” of a comparable wireless network. More importantly, the report didn’t indicate what is the state of P1’s WiMAX network currently. Specifically, we would like to know what is the percentage of “continuity incidences” right now.
P1‘s parent company, Greenpacket, unveiled its new range of budget WiMAX Indoor VoIP EX-series modems at the WiMAX Forum Congress Asia in Taipei.
The EX can be used in 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5Ghz WiMAX networks and has everything that will make any budget WiMAX modem proud including a high gain omni directional antenna and VOIP support. There’s no built-in WiFI though but that is the least of our worries.
What we’re concerned about is the look of the device. Just look at it. Nothing says fugly more than a overly boxy design with sharp edges and duldrum colours.
4G connectivity, never looked so bad.
No word on wherether P1 will be offering this to the Malaysian market.
The Star reports Green Packet is looking to make good progress this year with more jobs and a bigger WiMAX subscriber base in the midst.
To start of the year Green Packet announce a HKD3million deal with Hong Kong’s PCCW Group to provide customised product solutions. Although this is a relatively small amount for the industry, Green Packet sees the deal as a giant leap forward towards making inroads into Hong Kong.
Green Packet group managing director Puan Chan Cheong expects the company to clinch more contracts in the first quarter of this year. He is also confident over the growth of subscriber base for its WiMAX solutions.
“Our 5-year plan is going as scheduled. We got out there, set up our base stations and provided the WiMAX service. We kept our promise and the results will start to show,” says Puan.
He says that in five years, the service provider division, (which houses its WiMAX business, handled by subsidiary Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd) will account for two-thirds of group revenue while about a third will come from its bread-and-butter solutions division.
Green Packet presently has more than 10,000 WiMAX subscribers. Puan is confident of clinching 200,000 subscribers by year-end.
As it stands, Green Packet provides WiMAX in over 200 sites throughout the Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, Alor Setar and Penang. By June 2009, Puan expects Green Packet to be on track to provide WiMAX to 30% of Peninsular Malaysia or a total of 600 sites, not too far from its target of 800 sites by year-end.
We didn’t get an invitation but we managed to get in! P1 W1MAX has officially launched in Malaysia just hours ago at Mandarin Oriental. The launch was spectacular with impressive presentations, testimonial as well as light dance shows. They even got Hannah Tan to be the MC for the event.
Its CEO Michael Lai has spoken many aspiring stuff about broadband and how Packet 1 is eager to broadband whole Malaysia.
If you read our previous post, we revealed that there are 2 speed packages for business & personal. Apparently the said page was removed from the website after our posting. This time, the page is up again and we discovered that they are actually offering 4 speed packages of 400Kbps, 700Kbps, 1.2Mbps and 2.4Mbps. Read on to check out the updated packages.