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6 things TM and Gobind need to solve

TM Streamyx

Streamyx users have constantly complain about being neglected from the recent broadband price reduction. Now that TM and Gobind are finally talking to each other, hopefully, the public will be getting what they want very soon.  Here are several things that need to be addressed in order to bring more Malaysians up to speed. 

Lower Streamyx pricing

As highlighted by MCMC, there’s a need to rationalise the disparity between Streamyx and Unifi fibre customers. As a comparison, the Streamyx 1Mbps plan is currently going for RM110/month while Unifi’s 100Mbps plan is currently offered at RM129/month. 

The recent reduction of wholesale broadband prices with the enforced Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) has only benefited urban residents that have access to fibre. Those who are still stuck with Streamyx are obviously feeling left out and they deserved to enjoy the extra savings as well.

Standardised pricing

Apart from Streamyx, TM should also standardise their Unifi offering. As mentioned previously, there are so many overlapping plan variations where people are getting billed differently for the same thing. There’s also a perception that new customers are paying less when compared to existing customers. 

Prioritise upgrade for 500,000 Streamyx customers

Cheap broadband is one thing but eventually, we would need to ensure that all Malaysians can get access to faster and reliable internet. According to TM, there are 500,000 remaining Streamyx customers that are out of Unifi fibre coverage with no further options to upgrade. They have called upon the government to reach a mutually beneficial outcome for these customers. 

It was announced during Budget 2019 that RM1 billion was allocated for the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP). The ultimate goal is to provide a minimum of 30Mbps in rural areas within 5 years. The plan can be prioritised to address this Streamyx issue. 

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There’s also the universal service provision (USP) fund which can be utilised to improve connectivity for current Streamyx users in remote areas. 

Improving wireless broadband

If it isn’t feasible to provide direct fibre access to the home, another alternative is to provide fibre access to more mobile towers nationwide. This will help to increase capacity for wireless broadband which is a faster and cheaper alternative to Streamyx. 

It was recently reported that Malaysia’s mobile towers are under-fiberised with only 30-40% of towers connected to fibre. Fiberisation of mobile towers is crucial and this is will affect the upcoming 5G rollout. 

Getting other broadband providers involved

Instead of depending solely on TM, the ministry can entice other telcos to roll out fibre in key priority areas. There are multiple ways to encourage other players to roll out fibre such as providing tax break and other forms of incentives. 

Contrary to popular belief, TM isn’t the only company that’s permitted to roll out fibre in Malaysia. Maxis has its own fibre network in selected areas in addition to sharing infrastructure with TM, while Celcom has also deployed their own fibre network in Sabah.

You also have TIME that currently offers 1Gbps for RM199/month but they are only serving high-rise buildings. Singapore-based provider ViewQwest has also launched fibre services in Malaysia by offering 1Gbps for RM148/month. ViewQwest currently covers selected developments in Cyberjaya, Johor and Tropicana in Petaling Jaya.  

MSAP for Mobile

With the enforced Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) on fixed broadband, TM is able to share access of their fibre infrastructure with other providers at a lower rate. With a cheaper wholesale access, there’s more competition and consumers can benefit from lower subscriptions. 

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Since broadband is also delivered via 4G, the government should consider introducing a similar mandatory standard for wireless as well. This creates a level playing field for all players, and could also potentially lower costs for MVNO and domestic roaming. 

From the last update, Gobind will be having a discussion with TM sometime next week. Hopefully, this time there’s less talk and more action to solve the Streamyx problem.  

Alexander Wong