I attended the Maxis Raya Open House at Restoran Seri Melayu in KL yesterday.
Here are some pictures:
STARBIZ: No new spectrum – does that hinder DiGi’s growth?
Morten Lundal: We have significantly less spectrum than Celcom (M) Bhd or Maxis Communications Bhd. We are somewhat at a disadvantage because of that. If we could get more spectrum, we are clearly a player that would use this national resource efficiently.
STARBIZ: Given an option, which one would DiGi choose: the 3G spectrum or WiMax spectrum?
Morten Lundal:WiMax or 3G are similar as they both can offer broadband access to the Internet, but 3G offers a few additional things for a mobile operator. If we were to only compete for broadband, we would be indifferent.
But as a mobile operator, we would prefer 3G as we can also produce voice even more efficiently with it in the future. But DiGi is still very competitive without any of the two.
STARBIZ: What efforts are in place to get more spectrum?
Morten Lundal:There is a review being done now by MCMC (Malaysian Communica-tions and Multimedia Commission) for a spectrum re-allocation.
It is to make sure that valuable spectrum is being used and not left idle. DiGi is using all its spectrum efficiently, which is good both for consumers and the country.
STARBIZ: Has DiGi asked for more spectrum from MCMC?
Morten Lundal:We famously applied for 3G and WiMax without much success. When it comes to our future positioning, we will pose our views to MCMC in December.
STARBIZ: How much of spectrum or what type would be ideal?
Morten Lundal:We would like spectrum to produce voice as we are growing, and more spectrum will allow us to plan our network more efficiently.
We would like to have broadband spectrum, so that we could use DiGi’s competitive strength in driving more broadband penetration in Malaysia.
Given the way we made headway in the mobile sector, DiGi’s entry in broadband market will drive competition and expansion, which I think consumers would applaud and the Government would appreciate, since broadband growth is seen as important by all.
STARBIZ: When would the existing spectrum hit its limits?
Morten Lundal:We do not have ceiling as such. The only thing that happens when you have spectrum exhaustion is that we would have to add more cost and more sites than our competitors.
STARBIZ: Would DiGi work with another operator to get more spectrum?
Morten Lundal:We should rather ask MCMC. It is the regulator’s task to reallocate spectrum so that it is more efficiently used.
STARBIZ: What are the trends in consumer spending in the mobile sector?
Morten Lundal:When it comes to trends, we are part of an over-hyped industry.
Today, people love to be able to call anyone wherever they are or whenever they want, and SMS. That is a proven factor globally, but many advanced services like video calls are globally a flop as it is very difficult to change people’s behaviour.
Some services are proven successful in some segments in some countries but not at a global level.
Looking two years ahead, my take is nothing much would actually change – at least nothing that would affect our revenue composition significantly.
Voice telephony and SMS will remain strong. But over a five-year period, we may see non-SMS data growing, but not in a very significant way.
STARBIZ: Where can DiGi tap new growth?
Morten Lundal:As the fixed network dries out over the next decade, this transition will drive growth in the mobile sector.
Lower prices in the mobile sector will drive up confidence for people to call and usage patterns will be up, and that means growth.
Higher salaries will also increase mobile spending and these are growth areas that we can tap into.
Besides that, the barriers for consumers to reach out to DiGi are fast disappearing in terms of closing coverage gap, and the brand attraction is at least at par with other players.
With mobile number portability (MNP), the major barrier to choose DiGi would be removed. So there is room for growth in the mobile industry even though some say it would hit stagnation, but our challenge is to remain competitive.
STARBIZ: Where would the next fight be in the industry?
Morten Lundal:Pricing would be a factor in the competition. If you observe the mature markets, pricing is still very important for positioning in market share. We also have new players coming in and that will also add to the price focus.
STARBIZ: Currently, voice tariffs are in the 10 to 15 sen per minute range among operators. How low can it go in a competitive landscape?
Morten Lundal:At current prices, Malaysia’s voice call rates are very competitive, given the wide coverage, high quality and rapid innovation.
STARBIZ: Would mobile TV be the next killer application to drive mobile revenues?
Morten Lundal:The industry has a tendency of proclaiming what has not been proven yet to work to be the next big thing. Mobile TV has not been proven yet to not work but some still believe that will be big.
However, at least until now, mobile TV launched in any country has seen a very low consumer demand, so it would be pure speculation to say that mobile TV would be the next big thing to drive revenues.
It is one of those illusions the telecom industry tend to surround themselves with.
STARBIZ: Do you reckon DiGi would gain hugely from MNP?
Morten Lundal:I believe there would be a positive impact on DiGi. People chose their cellular numbers years ago, and with MNP they can have a chance to choose the operator they prefer and keep their numbers.
There are a lot of people who would love to change to DiGi but love their numbers even more. Now, with MNP, they can take their beloved numbers and join us.
Operators would be on their toes with MNP because customers would be able to move freely and even leave freely if the service is bad.
Hence, customer service would have to improve for customer retention. MNP is great for consumers.
STARBIZ: How important is customer retention to DiGi?
Morten Lundal:It is very important. We don’t like to tie our customers in with long contracts. We rather intend to give the best customer experience so that customers would trust us, and for that reason stay with us.
STARBIZ: What customer experience would DiGi offer to its 6.1 million mobile users in an MNP environment?
Morten Lundal:The functional attributes: the network is always on, you will always have access to services you want and you will be surprised by innovation now and then. It is important both that the basic always works and that the latest is always there.
The customer’s positive experience with the company’s service is important as well. It is not just about choosing the product but a preference for the company offering the product as well.
By having these attributes, we would be competitive in an MNP environment.
STARBIZ: DiGi topped the rankings in higher value creation among telcos in Asia-Pacific last year. How did you manage that?
Morten Lundal:Our focus was to compete in Malaysia and shareholders determined our value.
STARBIZ:Would there be a corporate exercise to split your shares to make your shares more accessible to the public?
Morten Lundal:No, we think the price per share is still affordable. (DiGi shares closed 30 sen higher to RM25 at Friday’s close).
STARBIZ: Would there be a cash call?
Morten Lundal:We have readily available funds to support our capital expenditure of between RM600mil and RM700mil this year, and RM700mil to RM900mil next year.
The funds are required to support growth and change to more modern and up-to-date platforms.
STARBIZ: Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s cellular unit, possibly Celcom, would make its debut on Bursa Malaysia mid next year. How would DiGi stack up against that unit?
Morten Lundal:Celcom itself is pretty comparable in size, but the holding company has ownership of foreign national assets whereas DiGi’s strength lies in that it is fully focused on the Malaysian market.
STARBIZ: Maxis Communications Bhd wants to be a regional player. Does DiGi have any such ambitions?
Morten Lundal:No, we are focusing on making great customer experience on efficient platforms in the Malaysian market.
P.s: Telco Talk Malaysia wants to meet the DiGi Chief Executive Officer in person. Will that happen?
2.2 million homes in Malaysia with high-speed broadband in the next three to five years, said TM chief executive officer for the group’s Malaysian business, Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa.
He said the connection, which would be done through fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-curb links, was part of its roll-out plan to transfer from the traditional network to a fully Internet Protocol (IP) network in ten years.
“And one of the applications considered (for the IP network) is through IP television,” he said at the Capacity Magazine’s 4th Annual Asia-Pacific Wholesale Communications Congress (Capacity Asia 2007) here Monday.
Zamzairani was one of the speakers in the first session entitled, “Exploiting the Growth Potential of the Asia-Pacific Wholesale Telecoms Market: Capacity Investment, Evolution of Services and Accessing New Market Opportunities”.
Previously, Telekom was reported to be in talks with the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications to provide high-speed FTTH links in selected urban areas to increase broadband penetration in Malaysia.
Its Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik estimated that the cost for the installation of FTTH in selected urban areas was about RM13 billion while the cost for the whole country was RM56 billion.
Later, when met by Bernama on the sidelines, Zamzamzairani said the roll-out of the project would take ten years, but the first three-and-a-half years were most aggressive.
“We have identified key areas … Klang Valley, Northern corridor, Southern corridor, with Eastern corridor coming up and the state capitals.
“By having all these, we can move towards full IP network and Next Generation Networking, and push Malaysia into the next stage,” he said.
However, he said, the telecommunications industry itself needed to be given time to implement full IP network, and that was why TM was taking its time to make the transformation.
“In order for the whole industry to move to this, everyone must be on IP or you have to provide some translation of the IP address to the traditional numbering system,” he said.-Bernama
EpiCentre, Apple’s Premium Reseller Store in Asia, opened its first store in Malaysia on Friday. Located at Level 5 in The Pavilion, it offers a comprehensive, latest and widest range of Apple products and its compatible accessories.
As for the opening promotions, EpiCentre offered 50% discount for the 1GB iPod Shuffle which was priced at RM174. Sadly, I already owned an iPod Classic 160GB. Other Apple product were also priced at a discounted value.
EpicCentre has two outlet in Singapore and was awarded Best Apple Retail Asia 2006 by Apple.
Here are some pictures:
I have just heard a rumor about DiGi that it will soon launch a service called D’podCast by the end of this week.
D’podCast will allow users to stream video and audio content, and read RSS feeds from the internet with a small fee.-Telco Talk Malaysia, the one and the only updated blog about the Mobile Communication Industry in Malaysia
(Updated: The service is now launched. Read here.)
The challenge started on May this year with 96 teams from 35 institution nationwide submitted their mobile application to win cash prizes totaling RM100,000.
Yesterday, five teams were short listed with the team from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak called Focus IT walked away with the grand cash prize of RM30,000 for developing a mobile application that verifies halal products. Another RM30,000 went to Universiti Malaya Sarawak. The second place winner walked away with a cash prize of RM20,000 followed by RM10,000 for the third prize. The fourth and fifth winner walked away with RM5,000 each.
According to Maxis, there will be another Mobile Content Challenge 2008 next year and probably with higher cash prizes. So are you dare enough?
The broadband technology WiMax has been added to a global standard for mobile devices, boosting its chances of becoming the preferred system for the next generation of high-speed wireless Internet access.
The decision on Friday by the U.N. telecommunications agency means that airwaves designated for other technologies in the standard known as IMT-2000 can now be used for networks based on WiMax. That’s likely to spur development of the wireless technology, attract new investors and eventually drive down hardware costs, analysts said.
WiMax — short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access — is capable of delivering wireless broadband connections at speeds of 70 megabits per second or more across an area of up to 40 miles. It’s faster than many fixed-line broadband connections today, which typically offer speeds of around 2 megabits per second.
Early promoters of WiMax — including Intel Corp., Samsung, Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. — stand to gain the most from Friday’s decision, said Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis, a British technology advisory firm.
“We’re super, super, super thrilled,” said Sriram Viswanathan, general manager of Intel’s WiMax business and vice president of Intel Capital. “We’ve been at this for the last three years, and it was a very, very extensive amount of work with a lot of players in the industry.”
The chip maker’s investment arm poured more than $1 billion last year into building WiMax networks around the world and other WiMax-related investments.
Intel is rolling out chips next year for laptops, cell phones and mobile Internet devices that feature both WiMax and Wi-Fi capabilities on the same piece of silicon. Integrating the two technologies extends the range and bandwidth available to those devices.
The standards agreement was reached in a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union late Thursday, after the negotiators overcame the objections of a number of countries.
China, for one, opposed the move because it wants its own wireless broadband standard to be adopted globally. U.S. officials had argued in favor of adopting WiMax as an official IMT-2000 standard along with other high-speed mobile network technologies.
“We strongly believe in an approach that includes as many technologies as possible, within the appropriate technical parameters, because diversity will lead to greater competition, lower prices and more benefits to consumers,” said Richard M. Russell, a White House expert on science and technology.
In the United States, Sprint Nextel Corp. has begun rolling out a nationwide WiMax network, starting in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. ClearWire, founded by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, also is deploying WiMax-based services.
WiMax could become as ubiquitous as mobile phones and conventional broadband, Bubley said.
“The real kick comes between two and five years from now,” he said, when consumers will start seeing the first mobile phone-style devices using WiMax come on the market.-Associated Press
On the Net:
WiMax Forum: http://www.wimaxforum.org
WiMax is 3G:http://www.wirelessweek.com/WiMAX-is-3G.aspx
Here are the history of iPhone before and after it was launched according to WIRED.
Spring 2003 - Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that Apple has no plans to release a tablet PC or a new Newton, instead identifying cell phones as important devices in need of better software. Better software.
Dec. 2006 — Cisco announces the iPhone. LOL.
Jan. 2007 — Apple announces the iPhone. OMG.
Jun. 11, 2007 — Apple says only web-apps will be permitted on the iPhone. WTF.
Jun. 29, 2007 — iTunes 7.3 released, containing support for iPhone “service activation.”
Jun. 29, 2007 — iPhone hits stores. Utter bedlam. The first hacks are destructive and result not so much in bricks as in brick dust.
Jul. 18 — The iPhone Dev Team partially unlocks the iPhone, allowing the use of non-iPhone AT&T SIM cards (such as pre-paid ones.)
Late Jul.-Early Aug. — the iPhone’s system software and internal operations are exposed and explored.
Jul. 30 — First native, third-party iPhone apps. Hello World!
Aug. 6 — British hackers fool the iPhone into accepting a SIM card from Orange Telecom It, and other similar reports, turn out to be difficult-to-implement edge cases requiring obsolete SIM cards.
Aug. 14 — Another claimed hardware unlock, more reliable than the earlier methods: the new technique uses TurboSIMs, blank cards sold by Bladox, to deceive the iPhone into thinking it’s on AT&T.
Mid Aug. — Application managers appear to aid installation of third-pary apps. iBrickr (Aug 17) for Windows, Breezy for Mac (Aug. 13) and iPHUC (Aug. 15) all do their thing. The popular Installer.app, often called AppTapp, appears on Aug 28. allows the easy installation of third-party applications on the iPhone — all required hacking is done automagically.
Aug. 24 — Teenaged hacker George Hotz gets his iPhone working on T-Mobile using a complicated hardware procedure documented at his blog.
Aug. 25 — Engadget publishes the first reports of iPhoneSimFree, the first software-only solution.
Sept. 11 — iPhoneSimFree opens for business, charging $100 for its unlocking App.
Sept. 11 — iUnlock released, offering free of charge unlocking from the command line
Sept. 15 — AnySIM released, offering free of charge unlocking with an easy GUI interface. iUnlock updated shortly therafter to offer GUI.
Sept. 24 — Apple warns world that future updates may render unlocked iPhones inoperable.
Sept. 27 — Firmware update 1.1.1 renders unlocked iPhones inoperable. Great new features include UI improvements and WiFi access to iTunes. Old hacks are rendered obsolete and unworkable. All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.
Sept. 28 — iPhoneSimFree publishes repair procedure for phones unlocked using its software. Users of free-of-charge alternatives remain out of luck. Some report that completely innocent, unhacked iPhones are also screwed by the 1.1.1 update.
Sept. 29 — A method is reported at the Hackint0sh forums that restores some unbricked iPhones, albeit to a gruesome half life of WiFi-only calling.
Oct. 1 — Partial recovery of some ruined iPhones is reported, but short-term outlook is bleak for adventurous iPhone hackers who unlocked their handsets with free solutions and then, perhaps stupidly, applied the 1.1.1 update.
Oct. 5 — Access gained to upgraded iPhone’s file system with a trick involving symbolic links, Unix’s equivalent of desktop shortcuts. It signposts a coming flood of developments after a week of hacking horror.
Oct. 8 — Preliminary 1.1.1 jailbreak found. Though not ready for public consumption, it’s the first sign of coming progress.
Oct. 9 — Third-party apps recompiled to work on 1.1.1. It’s found that 1.1.1 binaries can’t be retrofitted to run on iPhone still running 1.0.2.
Oct. 10 — A well-known flaw in the TIFF graphic file format is exploited to gain access to the iPhone and the iPod touch, and is found to work on handsets updated to 1.1.1.
Oct. 10 —iPhone Dev Team announces successful jailbreak of 1.1.1 and makes it publicly available
Oct. 10 — iPhoneSimFree announces a new version of its software that unlocks, but doesn’ activate, iPhones updated to 1.1.1.
Oct. 12 — Hackers publish an involved 19-step method to unbrick unlocked iPhones killed by the application of Apple’s 1.1.1 firmware.
We have seen the Apple’s iPhone, later heard the rumored GPhone…Now the latest rumor-the Skype phone.
The Skype phone will offer the same functionality as the Skype client on PC, free Skype-to-Skype calls with additional options available as paid subscriptions.
Celcom has launched “Stay Active Bonus” which rewards all Celcom Prepaid Customers that reloads.
If you own a Xpax, and if you reload a minimum RM10 while your account is still within the active period, Celcom will reward you an extra 5 days on top of your current(new reload) active period.
Orange in France has been chosen by Apple Inc. to be the exclusive carrier for iPhone in France. The mobile operator which is owned by France Telecom, will be selling the iPhone for €399 ($560). This multimedia device is expected to be available in France starting November,29 2007.
French law bans phones being locked to a network for more than six months. Orange is expected to sell an unlocked version of iPhone and this is a good news for Apple/iPhone fans in France.
When Celcom launched it new broadband packages on August 2007, one of its packages called Daily Unlimited Data Plan for postpaid and prepaid users were charged at RM8 for 24 hours. This Daily Unlimited Data Plan offers speed up to 3.6Mbps.
Later, this is what Celcom had on its website:
Today, you will see this:
As I am already confuse with their website, here is a another one. Below are the press release by Celcom(Note Second image) when they launched the Wireless Broadband service.(Click image for bigger view)
Another funny thing is, Celcom Senior Vice President for Marketing, Mr. Zalman Aefendy was present during the launch of Celcom Wireless Broadband.-Telco Talk Malaysia
I was browsing the web as normal and suddenly, I found this:
View the full PDF file here on his presentation of Maxis Broadband.
The company plans to lead participate in WiSOA to enable the future commercial development of roaming for WiMAX.
It said WiSOA planned to enable roaming among WiMAX networks and from WiMAX networks into WiFi, cellular, 2G and 3G networks.
Read more here