Monday October 22, 2012
TM open to tie-ups; already collaborating with Celcom
By LEONG HUNG YEE
PETALING JAYA: Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) is not ruling out the possibility to collaborate with industry players to offer mobile broadband.
Farid explained that the company was “already collaborating with Celcom” whereby it provided access of its high speed broadband (HSBB) network and backhaul services.
“We are certainly open to work with Celcom and other mobile providers in reaching out to potential customers. In fact, we are already seeing increased collaborations among industry players in many areas of infrastructure and services, facilitated by the regulatory environment and for the ultimate benefit of the Malaysian consumers. HSBB is one such example,” he added.
Although the company's focus has been on fixed lines, the telco is always looking for opportunities to extend the reach of broadband to everyone.
“TM complements its fixed data and broadband services with a host of wireless solutions including WiFi, fixed wireless technology via Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) as well as Evolution Data Optimised, or Evolution Data Only (EV-DO),” Farid said.
He noted that CDMA was an alternative technology for the fixed services especially for rural areas where the company did not have its network infrastructure. TM also equips fixed wireless CDMA equipment with EV-DO capability which will enable us to provide our broadband Streamyx service to remote areas.
Today, TM serves more than 125,000 CDMA fixed wireless telephone customers and more than 2,300 EVDO broadband customers nationwide.
Farid said it had activated TM WiFi at more than 25,000 sites nationwide and would continue to increase its WiFi coverage to support end-users' needs to experience seamless quality broadband beyond their homes
“TM currently has no plans to become a full-blown cellular player as our focus is still on fixed-line business. However, we are open to collaborate with other industry players in many areas of infrastructure and services, facilitated by the regulatory environment and for the ultimate benefit of the Malaysian consumers. Though we compete at the retail end, we have been the enabler for some of them through our wholesale arm by providing backhaul as well as access services,” Farid said.
The company intends to strengthen its position as a neutral wholesale service provider keeping its promise of open access to all Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission licensed service providers. To date, TM has signed with four service providers to provide HSBB services on a wholesale arrangement.
Asked if the company would re-price its UniFi packages in view of competition, Farid said competition would always be fierce and would be something that cannot be avoided.
“As we have always said, we welcome competition and the ultimate beneficiary will be the end users as entrants of new players provide them with options depending on their needs and requirements.
“The broadband marketplace for 2012 has been highly competitive, with some of our competitors resorting to dropping prices to gain market share. However, these offers are for a limited time only and we believe that they are not sustainable for a long period. However, we are confident that at the end of the day, consumers will opt for packages that give them better value rather than just cheaper on the surface,” Farid added.
The RM11.3bil HSBB project is a public-private partnership agreement between TM and the Government to develop next-generation HSBB infrastructure and services for the nation.
TM is forking out RM8.9bil while the Government is co-investing RM2.4bil on an incurred claims basis based on project milestones reached by TM. By year-end, in accordance with the completion of the first phase of the national HSBB project roll-out as agreed with the Government about 1.3 million premises will have access to the HSBB services.
Farid said currently its HSBB, UniFi service was available at 94 areas covering over 1.3 million premises passed with the bulk roll-out lies in key economic zones mostly in Klang Valley.
“Outside the Klang Valley, we are bringing in the infrastructure to key industrial zones nationwide in Penang, Johor, Perak, Melaka and Sarawak. Not to forget, we are also providing the infrastructure to public and private institutions of higher learning,” he added.
To date, TM has activated close to 446,000 UniFi customers, translating into a take-up rate of more than 34% against premises passed.
Meanwhile, TM has refuted a news report that it was making a RM1.8bil bid for Packet One Sdn Bhd.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia,TM described the news report as “misleading as it is based on speculation”.
It added that it had not announced any interest to bid for the stake nor seek any approval to do so.
“TM is however always in search of value creating opportunities as part of our strategy and rest assured, will make any necessary announcements to our stakeholders, where so required,” it said.