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MCMC tells TM not to take advantage of consumer’s lack of options

Apart from having service disruptions over the weekend, TM had also faced criticism by the minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia. In his retweet of a user complaint, Gobind Singh Deo had emphasised that TM should not stay quiet with regards to Streamyx customers who are still paying high prices for slower ADSL connection.

While fibre broadband prices have recently reached an all time low, majority of Streamyx customers are being left out as fibre coverage is still very limited. Out of a million customers, only 340,000 customers are eligible to switch to Unifi fibre broadband and about 350,000 customers will be getting free speed upgrade to 8Mbps. 

Obviously, laying fibre takes time and investment, and copper has its own limitation when it comes to speed. As a response to the Minister, TM has posted a reply on their Facebook page highlighting their efforts so far to address the “Streamyx problem”.

For the remaining 500,000 Streamyx customers who are not getting any upgrades, TM emphasised that they are calling for discussions with the Government to reach a mutually beneficial outcome for these customers in their statement dated 16 October 2018. 

Below is a copy of their response:

Recently, YB Gobind Singh Deo, the Minister of Communication and Multimedia, has highlighted a number of issues faced by our customers. We would like to take the opportunity to clarify matters raised by YB minister and to also respond to our valued customers.

We would like to thank YBM Gobind for always bringing the issues faced by our valued customers to our attention. Rest assured TM is always listening to our customers and to our stakeholders and have been responding both individually on social media as well as via several media statements, the latest being 16th Oct ( where details of our plans and progress were provided. 

We have continuously been in touch with our Streamyx customers also via EDMs, calls and SMS messages to inform them of the free upgrades especially of Streamyx customers in unifi areas and for those not in unifi areas, upgrades up to 8mbps or wireless broadband LTE 4G solutions. 

We have also explained on the limitations of the current copper network and in this respect have been in ongoing engagement with government, ministry, regulator and other stakeholders on how to solve the legacy copper issues affecting Streamyx customers together.

TM appreciates the patience and understanding of all our customers as some of these issues need a longer-term solution and have implications that need to be solved at an industry and national level. 

Lastly, we will continue to ensure that customers and stakeholders are informed of the progress being made on a regular basis whether on social media, media and via direct engagements.

Today, MCMC has issued another response to TM’s clarification with a stronger tone. It mentions that TM’s inaction affects many Malaysians and MCMC has received 43% increase in complaints, with a bulk of it on pricing dissatisfaction. 

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They also urged TM to rationalise the disparity of pricing between Unifi and Streamyx plans. This is to ensure that their customers are charged fairly based on the speeds they are getting regardless of technology. The statement also tells TM to be more transparent in their dealing with Malaysians and not to take advantage of consumer’s lack of options.

MCMC Notes TM’s Clarification Regarding Consumer Issues Highlighted By The Honourable Minister Of Co

As the largest fixed broadband provider in the country with 85.97% market share of total subscribers, TM’s inaction affects many Malaysians who depend on TM’s network in their daily professional and personal activities. Consumers are demanding better services for the money they are paying TM.  

At the time of writing, MCMC has received 7946 complaints on TM services, representing an increase of 43% from 4528 received in 2017. Based on average number of complaints for every 1000 subscribers, TM has recorded the highest number of complaints when compared with other service providers.  

These complaints centre around consumer dissatisfaction on pricing (21%), the lack of UNIFI coverage (16%), UNIFI service disruption (13%), billing disputes (14%), service delivery (14%) as well as other categories (22%).  

The government views this alarming decline in TM’s services delivery very seriously.  

TM’s repeated complaint handling approach in citing technical limitations and requesting consumers to exercise patience is not an acceptable course of action. Leaving customers in the dark is not the way a company of TM’s stature should operate.  
Yesterday for example, TM informed its customers of UNIFI services disruption, but failed to provide reasons for it.  

TM must also rationalise the disparity between UNIFI and Streamyx pricing per Megabits per second (Mbps) so consumers are charged fairly for the speed that they enjoy without technology discrimination. This is especially important in areas where UNIFI is not available.   

TM needs to be transparent in dealing with the Rakyat by offering packages that are great value, not take advantage of consumer’s lack of options.  

MCMC regards consumer protection as a key priority and will not hesitate to take any regulatory action against TM or any licensee found to be in breach. 

It’s no doubt that Streamyx customers are paying too much for the speeds they are getting. Until now, TM has yet to announce any price cuts for Streamyx customers. This is bad news for those who can’t upgrade to Unifi or not eligible to receive any form of speed upgrade. While it is costly to maintain its legacy copper network, TM should consider lowering their subscription fee for those without any upgrade options. 

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As mentioned previously, I believe TM shouldn’t be the only player to address the Streamyx issue. Other licensed players should also jump in to provide high speed access whether it is fibre or wireless. This would ensure that Malaysians will have a variety of high-speed providers, not just TM. 

The priority is to bring more Malaysians up to speed regardless of technology and the fastest way to do so it via wireless broadband. In situations where it is not feasible for operators, MCMC can utilise the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund to incentivise operators to enter underserved areas.

What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below. 


Alexander Wong