Let’s see whether it will be weeks or few months in rolling out its services.
TUNE Talk Sdn Bhd, Tune Group’s mobile telecommunications unit, will roll out its mobile services “in a few months“, after stamping its presence almost two years ago.
The company had initially planned to commercially launch its service by end-2007.
“Things were put on hold for a while, partly due to the demerger (of Telekom Malaysia Bhd),” chief executive officer Jason Lo told Business Times in an interview.
However, the competition landscape has changed. If the company had launched its services in end-2007, it would have been competing in a market that has an over-80 per cent penetration rate, dominated by the incumbents.
Today, penetration rate is about 100 per cent with entrant of new players in the market like U Mobile, XOX Dot Com Sdn Bhd and Merchantrade. Over the next one to two years, the market is expected to be flooded with a few more new players such as Redtone and Baraka, an MVNO tied up with DiGi.Com Bhd.
Despite the slight delay, Tune Talk, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), is unfazed.
“We believe our products, which will be launched soon, will still be relevant to the market. It will give our customers a good value proposition,” said Lo, but did not elaborate.
Besides launching its services in the local market, Tune Talk is also in talks with foreign partners on launching mobile services in Southeast Asia. This could pave the way for Tune Talk to become the country’s first MVNO brand that has overseas presence.
The overseas expansion plan, which is the firm’s second phase of expansion, could materialise as early as six months from its domestic launch.
When launched, Tune Talk customers in Malaysia and Thailand, for example, may be able to call each other for as low as local call rates.
“We view Asean as our market. In our phase two expansion, we aim to deliver better roaming proposition,” Lo explained.
Lo did not reveal which overseas market the company will launch first, but that it will likely be one of the neighbouring countries.
As part of the Tune Group – which has a suite of businesses, from financial services, hospitality to aviation — Lo knows that it is critical for Tune Talk to synergise with Tune Group’s other businesses.
“We believe we can deliver more value to our customers through synergising,” he said.
For now, Tune Talk plans to focus on its prepaid business. Unlike XOX Dot Com Sdn Bhd – an MVNO which plans to offer both postpaid and prepaid services – Tune Talk has no immediate plans to launch postpaid services.
“Malaysia is still predominantly a prepaid market, that’s where our focus will be for now,” he said.
An MVNO is a mobile service operator that does not have its own licensed spectrum and infrastructure to provide mobile service to its customers. Instead, MVNOs lease wireless capacity from existing mobile service providers and establish their own brand names different from the providers. In Tune Talk’s case, it rides on Celcom (Malaysia) Bhd’s network.