Wednesday April 22, 2009
WiMAX service tie-up
By B.K. SIDHU
YTL e-Solutions to sign deal with Samsung for peninsula-wide coverage
PETALING JAYA: After forging a partnership with Cisco late last year, YTL e-Solutions (YTLe) is set to ink yet another deal tomorrow with South Korea’s Samsung group to help it deploy WiMAX services in Peninsular Malaysia, according to sources familiar with the deal.
WiMAX, which stands for worldwide interoperability for microwave access, is a wireless digital communications system for wireless broadband access.
To build the WiMAX-based platfrom, YTLe will be investing about RM2.5bil for a nationwide roll-out, which will be funded by internally generated funds, one source said.
YTLe is listed on Mesdaq and is a subsidiary of YTL Corp Bhd.
The arrangement with Samsung will cover infrastructure build-up, especially radio network systems and the provision of hand-held devices for the services, the source added.
It is not clear how much the deal with Samsung is worth or whether the handsets will eventually be subsidised but YTLe is hoping to offer WiMAX-based voice, data and multimedia services in six to eight months’ time.
It is targeting a nationwide (peninsula) roll-out of WiMAX services in 14 months’ time, offering data download speeds of eight megabits per second (Mbps) and two Mbps for uplinks.
YTLe hopes to take the market by storm with its WiMAX service, offering a “one-pricing structure for its converged (voice, data and Multimedia services),” according to a source.
“Yes, YTLe has taken some time but it needed the time to study the maturity of the technology and it believes it is entering the market place at the right time,” the source said.
Samsung is known to have created one of the most advanced portable WiMAX gadgets globally.
Last month Samsung launched its SWD-M100 Mondi mobile WiMAX device in the United States.
Mondi has touch screen capabilities and can be used to access the Internet.
Whether this model will make its way into Malaysia is unclear but YTLe is hoping that the partnership with Samsung will enable it to provide a total package comprising devices and services.
“It is important to give Malaysians a new experience in mobility and YTLe is looking at offering converged services,’’ the source said.
In December, YTLe formalised an agreement with Cisco Services Malaysia for the deployment of WiMAX.
Cisco will build and integrate YTLe’s WiMAX core network which includes the IP core and operating support systems, among others.
The arrangement with Samsung will sort out its radio network systems and devices.
A late entrant it may be, but YTLe has finally got the partners it needed to help with its WiMAX rollout, including US-based Clearwire as its technology partner.
YTLe is one of four Malaysian companies awarded the 2.3GHz spectrum in 2007, which allows them to offer wireless broadband services using the WiMAX technology
The other three are Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd, REDtone International Bhd and Asiaspace Sdn Bhd.
WiMAX is not widely available globally but a handful of American cities have deployed it.
In Malaysia, the Government awarded the spectrum so that operators can offer services that will lead to higher broadband penetration rates in the country.