Malaysia broadband penetration exceeds target

According to a news report, Malaysia has achieved 21.1% household broadband penetration. This exceeds its projection of 20% penetration under Malaysia’s National Broadband Implementation Plan.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum also added that it targets to achieve 50% household penetration in 2010. This means we have about a year to cover additional 30% of our nation’s household with broadband. We see this as a challenging target to achieve.

However it is still possible as there are new wireless broadband providers that have emerged recently utilising 3G HSDPA and WiMAX technology. Currently, the 3G players are Maxis, Celcom, U Mobile and new comer DiGi. On the WiMAX end, we have Packet 1, Redtone, YTL and Asiaspace. Not forgetting also are other wireless providers such as Izzi as well. Wireless is generally much faster to roll out due to lack of physical cabling to each potential user.

However we have questions on these new players roll out. Are they able to fulfill the extra 30% household within 1 year through proper coverage planning and capacity management?

Also what defines broadband? Is there a proper minimum definition of broadband by 2010? It would be pointless if broadband subscribers are achieved but average speed obtained is below broadband levels.


DiGi to launch 3G services by end March 2009

According to a news report which we have picked up, DiGi’s CEO Mr. Johan Dennelind had announced that DiGi would be launching its highly anticipated 3G service before end of next month. This is an exciting piece of news as it has been quite a while since we heard any updates on their 3G roll out.

It is also mentioned that DiGi will be strenghtening ahead and vows not to cut jobs in its 3,000+ head count operation. Despite looming economic downturn, DiGi would be investing close to RM900 million this year.

Let’s hope to see something interesting from DiGi in the next few months to come.


DiGi Appoints New Chief Technology Officer

More humbrum corporate news…again from DiGi

Ole Martin Gunhildsbu has been appointed by Malaysian mobile network, DiGi Telecommunications as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) with immediate effect. He has been acting CTO since November 2008 when his predecessor left to take up a new role within the Telenor Group.

On his appointment, DiGi Chief Executive Officer Johan Dennelind said: “We are happy with Ole’s steady leadership, and his accomplishments in improving network coverage and quality over the past year. I am confident that he will manage this core business aspect of ours effectively as we move forward to take DiGi to the next level.”

A telecommunications and IT veteran, Gunhildsbu joined DiGi as Head of Service Operations, Technology Division in January 2008. Prior to his current appointment, he has almost 15 years of extensive experience in various Technology Management positions within both fixed and mobile business in Telenor.

Before joining DiGi, Gunhildsbu was responsible for planning and rolling out fixed and mobile infrastructure, including 3G and HSDPA, in Norway and Denmark from 2005-2007. This includes in-depth experience in delivering cost optimal and high performance Broadband networks and services in markets, where mobile broadband demands have truly rocketed. He was also holding the CTO post in Tele2 Norway from 1999-2004.

It appears that DiGi’s gearing up for 3G deployment. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.


DiGi Bleeding RM15mil from Roaming Fraud!

Earlier, DiGi reported lower Q4, 2008 earnings due to higher traffic cost and lower ARPU.

DiGi now reveals that a major bulk of this is caused by a whopping RM15mil in roaming fraud. Excluding the fraud, EBITDA margins would have expanded quarter-on-quarter by 45 per cent in the Q408. The losses accumulated from roaming fraud were however mitigated by cost optimisation initiatives, a pullback in staff bonuses and lower advertising and promotion expenditure.

OSK Research said this after its analyst had a conference call with DiGi management. “The fraud creates a loophole where users can roam for free,” says the analyst. “Therefore DiGi sees it as a cost item. But they are trying to address it.”

DiGi also says that the syndicate perpetrating the fraud also affects other telcos.

On that token, OSK has downgraded DiGi to neutral from a buy rating previously as earnings are expected to decline 7-8% in the next two years as margin pressure from starting up its 3G business starts to build up and it also faces the possibility of a tariff skirmish with other telcos.

Looks like there’s a price war afoot…interesting!


Watchout! Bogus TM Debt Collectors Out to Con Your Ass!

Next time some stranger comes knocking on your door for money…DON’T give it to them!

The Star reports that there have been cases in Penang where unscrupulous individuals masquerading as debt collectors for TM have been collecting cash from subscribers who have failed to clear their bills. The dead giveaway for these bogus collectors is that they use fake appointment letters that bear TM’s old logo NOT the new one.

According to the company, it is standard procedure for TM appointed debt collection agents to present their appointment letter, valid identification tag and the outstanding bill reminder letter when they visit a customer’s premises to collect debts.

As a precautionary measure, TM says you should get all the details of the person claiming to be authorised by TM to collect debt on the company’s behalf. Get their name, mobile telephone number and the name of their company.

Read the full story

Mobile Internet Set to Take Off in 2009

Looks like mobile tech is king for 2009 as more and more mobile users are saying cutting edge features in their devices is top priority.

A report from Nielsen reveals Mobile Internet in Malaysia is set to surge with more than half a million regular users currently, and more subscribers setting their sights on this ‘must-have’ technology feature for their next mobile phone.

“Generally it is males who tend to score higher on wanting emerging technology features in their handsets, but when it comes to mobile Internet, both genders are equal. This shows that this emerging technology is fast gaining mainstream acceptance,” according to Vinod Paul, Consumer Research Director of The Nielsen Company, Malaysia who oversaw the survey.

Read the full story

Little bits tell – Storm is Coming!


This is unconfirmed but we have sources within Celcom and Maxis telling us that the The Blackberry Storm is coming in 2H2009!

We’ve played around with the Storm for a bit. Though it’s not enough for a solid comprehensive review. But first impressions are good. The built quality is good and the click feedback touch screen is refreshing. We don’t like the the somewhat laggy interface though. When it comes to eye bling…iPhone’s OS is still the one to beat!

It’s still to early to determine the pricing but seeing that the bulk of Blackberry sales are from business users, price is really not a concern.

June is perhaps too long a wait for an official word from Maxis and Celcom, in the meantime here’s a review to keep the drool flowing.

Stuff.TV Reviews Blackberry Storm

As usual, when we have the word, we will keep you posted.

Google Maps with Latitude

Google Latitude

If you are a fan of Google Maps for Mobile, now there’s something extra that you won’t want to miss. Now Google has launched Google Latitude which allows you to share locations with your contacts. This has open up new possibilities, good or bad depending on how you look at it.

With the new latitude, it is now possible to find a lunch/dinner companion or simply have fun stalking your friends around. This is very much like the typical Friend Finder service you get from our Telcos.

Obviously privacy is an issue here and it is good to know that Google Latitude allows privacy settings that limit city level locations or block specific friends from viewing. Of course, you would need to authorise who would be able to locate you.

Read the full story

Ad-nalysis: P1 – Resistance is Futile

This caught our eye in the Star over the weekend.


And we have to say, it’s quite a cheeky ad. Nice clear layout, attention grabbing headline, tells you just enough to entice you but not a lot to make the layout messy. We like!

Although the comparison with dial-up is a bit old hack. We’re not even sure if the younger broadband users out there have even experienced dial-up before. Besides comparing broadband with dial-up is like comparing a Ferrari with a Proton.

P1 marketing people, if you’re paying attention, read this:

  1. We like the ad, like the layout and the copy. Looks good.
  2. We don’t like the comparison with dial-up as we think it’s irrelevant.
  3. Looking forward to seeing P1 set the bar in terms of cheeky ads for broadband, just like how DiGi is setting the bar for telco.

On a side note, notice the Intel logos at the left bottom corner of the ad? We think P1 will be coming up with a laptop bundling plan in the next few months. This is coinciding with Intel releasing its new chips and boards with built-in WiMAX.

Once we have the word, we’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, check out our other Ad-nalysis posts HERE.

Green Packet Aiming High for 2009

GreenPacket Logo

The Star reports Green Packet is looking to make good progress this year with more jobs and a bigger WiMAX subscriber base in the midst.

To start of the year Green Packet announce a HKD3million deal with Hong Kong’s PCCW Group to provide customised product solutions. Although this is a relatively small amount for the industry, Green Packet sees the deal as a giant leap forward towards making inroads into Hong Kong.

Green Packet group managing director Puan Chan Cheong expects the company to clinch more contracts in the first quarter of this year. He is also confident over the growth of subscriber base for its WiMAX solutions.

“Our 5-year plan is going as scheduled. We got out there, set up our base stations and provided the WiMAX service. We kept our promise and the results will start to show,” says Puan.

He says that in five years, the service provider division, (which houses its WiMAX business, handled by subsidiary Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd) will account for two-thirds of group revenue while about a third will come from its bread-and-butter solutions division.

Green Packet presently has more than 10,000 WiMAX subscribers. Puan is confident of clinching 200,000 subscribers by year-end.

As it stands, Green Packet provides WiMAX in over 200 sites throughout the Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, Alor Setar and Penang. By June 2009, Puan expects Green Packet to be on track to provide WiMAX to 30% of Peninsular Malaysia or a total of 600 sites, not too far from its target of 800 sites by year-end.