A new challenger approaches: TM to enter mobile race next year


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.

With the acquisition of Packet One Networks (P1) in October of 2014, TM set out to develop them into their mobile arm and mobility centre, eyeing an end of 2015 launch of their mobile services. However, clearly pushing into the mobile sector proved difficult even for the telco giant, so TM have instead decided to take baby steps and only start user trials and network readiness tests come December.

However, according to TM group chief executive officer Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, development of Telekom Malaysia’s overall LTE network rollout is on track, with the core LTE network being managed and planned for future growth by P1.

“We are now building on that core to roll out nationwide, starting with urban areas and adjacent to existing base stations,” said Zamzamzairani.

This isn’t TM’s first foray into the LTE technology as they had launched their very own LTE-based 4G broadband service, TMgo back in August of last year. TMgo was launched while the TM-P1 partnership was still pending approval, so it ran at a lower 850MHz frequency instead of the usual 1800MHz/2600MHz bands used by mainstream 4G operators.

Now, with the full support of P1 at their backs, TM can really flex its muscles and push their way into the four-horse race. As with any industry, having more competition will only be beneficial for the consumer. With more competition, telcos have to tread carefully to keep their services relevant and avoid being run over by competition.

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With a major telecommunications player like TM entering the mobile services scene, you can expect the existing players who are currently locked in a four-way-free-for-all for LTE supremacy, to scramble and make sure the upstart new challenger doesn’t take their crown away from them.

In any case, if TM successfully makes their way into the mobile sector, it can only mean good things for us consumers. We can realistically expect more competitive pricing, more improvements in terms of coverage and probably a whole lot more drama.