Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Malaysia Government supports TM to monopolise local broadband market

Finally, with all those critics coming from various peoples, the Malaysia Government, representing the Malaysians, has finally decided to support Telekom Malaysia in monopolizing the broadband market.

Recently, Telekom Malaysia has been awarded a RM15.6bil High Speed Broadband(HSBB) project over the next 10 years by the Government.

The first phase of the project will see Telekom Malaysia Bhd investing RM8.9 billion while the government will chip in with another RM2.4 billion over a period of three years.

Phase 1 of the project includes building the infrastructure and rolling out of broadband services to 50% of households by 2010. It also includes upgrading copper phone lines to fibre-optic cables.

The good part is, the objective the project is good which is to offer high speed broadband access but the bad thing, in my opinion, the project has been awarded to only one and the wrong company.

Why TM? Do a Google search and you will see how much does the Malaysians love Streamyx.

At this point, TM owns 95% of the existing fixed line infrastructure, and you know why, only 5% of the share was given to other companies. This happens because the Government decides it and looks like it will continue to happen for the next 10 years.

IDC predicts the telecom market was worth RM18.9 billion last year and fixed data only takes up 17% of it. Don’t you think that there are other companies in the broadband market could offer a better fixed broadband service?

The ex-minister of KTAK, Dato’ Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik talks great about offering high speed broadband services. To offer a traditional fixed broadband service, companies requires fixed/copper line and only one company could lay its copper lines in almost anywhere in the country—-Telekom Malaysia.

While TM grows it’s subscriber base with pride, on the consumer level, people subscribe to the service because of having no other option.

What is the use of offering 1-4Mbps of broadband speed when this speed in limited to within the country and most of the internet traffic goes outside of the country?

TM could be proud with it’s 4 Mbps offering but does it really matter when this is a shared service and oversubscribed.

The Government on the other hand should force TM to share their fixed line network(for broadband purpose) and award the HSBB project to few broadband companies rather than one company that is already dominating the business. This is really bad for consumers, after all the “billion ringgit” comes from consumers like you and me.

It is no more the time to talk about the benefits of broadband rather than to make it happen. TM needs to lay new fibre optic cables to cover 2.2 million premises in key economic areas in the country, with the service covering fixed and wireless transmission.

There are almost 20 ISPs in the country, why not divide this project? Everyone gets a slice of the cake, and this is good for business and consumers since they will race to win over each other.

If I were the decision maker, I will ensure than every 1Mbps subscriber gets a stable 1Mbps connection and upgrade the international backbone rather than talking big about offering 100Mbps-1Gbps when you are getting an average of 256Kbps speed while browsing a website hosted in US.

I waited for the election last year, and now after the heavy loses, the Prime Minister said that ignoring the Internet was his biggest mistake.

TM secured itself in the market for the next 10 years, but do you know that the next general election will take place in next 5 years? Let’s wait and see.


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Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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