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Are you ready for a fresh new mobile telco that has set its mind to reimagine the space?

This post is brought to you by P1, Built for More

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.

A blast from the past…P1 admits it had issues and that’s a good thing.

Let’s make things clear from the start, P1 has had some real issues in the past. Network issues, customer service issues, financial issues, you name it, P1 has it.

Having seen it all, Kelvin openly admits, P1 has had its setbacks. “When P1 started, it provided a great product and service, but as a small company trying to operate against huge, established competitors we hit some bumps along the way. It was with good intentions P1 created a new service, but it had initial teething troubles with expanding coverage and increasing bandwidth,”

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“Financial difficulties also halted further expansion of P1’s coverage towers, which is why some people may have experienced moments of congestion and didn’t see their coverage area expanded.”

However, the company doesn’t want to dwell in the past. The leadership acknowledges that it has made some mistakes but now it wants to get rid of the skeletons in the closet and start from afresh. It wants to build an ideal network that combines the best and latest in mobile data and find areas to converge with TM on fixed line internet technology to deliver telecommunications beyond what its competitors can muster.

But in the hyper-competitive mobile telecommunications market, it’s understandable that Kelvin is keeping his cards close to his chest. “P1 realised there were issues to overcome and has spent a long time coming up with solutions that are now being put into place. These problems are now being fixed in the near future. That’s all I can say on that so watch this space.”

Azizi shares the same opinion saying that customer satisfaction is paramount at P1 but for changes to take effect, he asks for time. “Changes are being made from the ground up, at the employee level. We’re growing customer service and we have some ideas that we’re going to set-up that will truly set us apart from competitors, for the better. We can’t say any more than that, except that it requires a bit of time, but it’s absolutely a priority, and it’s going to make us very different from the other big telcos in Malaysia.”

The little guy that was maybe a little too ambitious.

Back in 2008, P1 was an ambitious brand, one that stuck it to the big boys, a brand that showed that a little guy can have the courage to fight, and to win – well, almost. When P1’s went online in late 2008, there weren’t many other mobile broadband offerings available in Malaysia that could match what P1 could deliver. P1’s, back then, cutting edge WiMAX network delivered speeds that competing 3G networks couldn’t match.

And then, there’s the value proposition. Pair the pure performance of WiMAX with attractive pricing that was unlike anything that market could offer, it wasn’t long before P1 became the buzzword in wireless internet to a point where the brand saw demand far exceeding what its network could deliver. P1 was a victim of its own success. The bright spark in wireless communications that was flying high took a hit.

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Having lived with these growing pains, Kelvin acknowledged the issues that P1 faced in the past but it is the same issues that made the company more resilient and better. “We did something no operator dared. A new operator, using a completely new technology, we knew that things were going to be challenging for but we also knew that we can be successful. We know that we had the right stuff. Being the entrepreneurs that we are, we’ve simply had to revamp our strategy. With the collective support of strong parent companies, we now have a way forward. We want to win back the hearts of our customer, earning their trust. The only way to do this is by pure hard work.”

Azizi agrees and adds that network is something that P1 really needs to build a wonder network, one that really needs to match the best that its competitors can offer and then some. “We need to ensure that the service levels for the existing 4G offering are increased to live up to high customer expectations – before we can introduce new products and services this year with LTE. To do this, we first have had to invest into the 4G network sufficiently to cater for a 99.7% uptime. In parallel, we’re also investing into the customer service representative head count – an increase by a further 50%. The goal is to be able to consistently respond to a customer enquiry within 48 hours of it being raised via the numerous official communication channels.”

Make customers happy first. Everything else will come naturally.

Beyond everything else, P1 knows that the road to its success is one where happy customers walk, and that’s where the combined expertise of TM and SK Telecom will be critical.

TM is now the controlling shareholder in P1 with a 55.3% stake. The investment into P1 allows TM to take a step into the next chapter of its play book, i.e. for mobility solution offerings to complement its fixed broadband leadership position to support future cross-selling and up-selling. Could Malaysians dream of potentially having a single provider and a single bill and a single point of contact covering the triple play offering of fixed home broadband, IPTV as well as for mobile broadband services? The dream looks promising.

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As for SK Telecom’s role in this tripartite investment, Kelvin elaborated “They have been a strategic investor in P1 since 2010. SK Telecom is a telecom and technology powerhouse with over 14 million people reaping the rewards of the LTE Advanced network in South Korea. That’s over 50% of the LTE subscriber base in South Korea!” This puts P1 in a prime position to deliver what is possibly one of the best mobile networks in the country, possibly the world.

Clearly, P1 is set to take on Malaysia once again with LTE in 2015. Will it be different this time around compared to 2008 when P1 dared to take on TM with 4G? Especially given the likes of Maxis, Celcom and DiGi who have had a head start of some years in this space, which is not something to underestimate.

But the future is looking bright for P1.

Given P1’s combined forces with big brother TM, the ability to leverage the vast backbone infrastructure links and the deep pockets means that P1 is off to a good start. If TM’s proven ability to roll out HSBB in record time in Malaysia could also rub-off on P1’s LTE rollout, we may well see a viable in the LTE space as early as the second half of 2015 making it exciting for you.

The best part is yet to come. The anticipation of the technology advantage that SK Telecom brings to P1 could be the secret sauce that will enable P1 to offer a differentiation from its competitors.

Without quite letting the cat out of the bag about what is in store for consumers with the introduction of LTE in 2015, Kelvin suggested that we look at the innovations that SK Telecom has brought about in South Korea with the applications and services that extend across every area of a person’s digital lifestyle, from seamless entertainment, to secured payment to high definition voice to give us a view of what to expect with P1 in the future.

Promising days loom ahead with this late entrant into the mobile broadband space stirring a market that is well-settled. Stay tuned for the ripples that P1 is slowly but surely creating. You’ll want to see what’s coming.