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TM’s new CEO has big plans to increase connectivity and to address the Streamyx issue

TM has recently appointed Datuk Noor Kamarul as their Managing Director and Group CEO. In an exclusive interview with NST, the former CTO from Celcom had shared his plans to turn the large telecommunications company around.

In the first quarter of 2019, TM had shown a net profit of RM308.3 million which was a result of its cost-cutting exercise, however, the CEO admits that this won’t be sustainable in the long run. He shared that revenue was still down and his goal is to grow back revenue and bring it back to the glory days as soon as possible.

Left: TM MD and Group CEO Datuk Noor Kamarul, Right: TM Chairman Rosli Man.
Photo by Halimaton Saadiah. NST.

It was mentioned that the problem with TM was its failure to extend connectivity coverage with the right medium while keeping internet signal strong and seamless for consumers. He added that TM had always limited its options when building connectivity and they been focusing only on one medium to roll out coverage. As a result, they failed to make returns of investment when they realised that the cost was higher than revenue.

He admitted that TM has been left far behind by its competitors as it failed to use the right strategy at the right time. By the time they implemented its strategy, the competitors were already far ahead. In the interview, he gave an example where Celcom has 10,000 sites while TM has only around 4,000 sites for coverage.

Moving forward, Noor Kamarul shared that TM will focus on three winning strategies – providing quality products, competitive tariff/prices and good customer service. This new direction will require TM to change its mindset of how it worked in the past.

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One of the biggest plans is to explore all mediums to build connectivity which includes both wireless (4G, 5G, satellite, microwave) and wired connectivity (copper and fibre) that can provide sufficient bandwidth depending on the area density and cost. He hoped this will increase Malaysia’s internet coverage at the right cost while having a stable connection.

A few months ago, TM had announced its TDD-LTE Massive MIMO roll out in Puchong which was seen as an alternative connection for places without fibre. It is similar to Unifi’s home wireless broadband solution and it offered 60GB of LTE data for RM79/month with speeds of up to 30Mbps.

The CEO also talked about providing customers with personalised services and giving content that customers want. He didn’t share further details about content but this could indicate a revival of Unifi TV.

For those on legacy connections, Noor Kamarul also said that TM will address the Streamyx issue and TM’s mobile business which isn’t making money. In July last year, TM had identified 340,000 Streamyx customers that are residing in Unifi covered areas and are eligible to receive a free upgrade to Unifi. Yesterday, it was reported that 266,000 Streamyx customers have made the switch while 226,000 customers that are outside of Unifi areas have received their 2X speed upgrade. It is estimated that 500,000 Streamyx customers are left without any upgrade option and TM had previously called upon the government for a discussion with the objective of finding a solution.

Among the new strategies for TM will include reviewing contracts with its partners and vendors to see whether they were in its favour, as well as looking into other leakages in the company that are hurting their revenue.

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TM share prices had jumped above the RM3.00 mark after reports that a new CEO will be named very soon. Shares of TM closed at RM3.80 on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM14.28 billion.


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Alexander Wong