Friday, June 2, 2023

Malaysia wouldn’t need WiMAX laptops, for now

Note: I’m not against P1 or Intel, they are great companies with great people. I just think think that it could be more than just WiMAX laptops and this article is my opinion.

As most of you probably know, P1 & Intel will be launching a range of WiIMAX laptops. The launch is taking place later today at  Sunway Resort with laptops from a number of major brands including Asus, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, MSi and Toshiba.

Check out their online campaign over here-

There are few reasons why I think we don’t need a WiMAX laptop for now:

WiMAX laptops are not ready

The major issue with the laptops that Intel is launching is you can’t turn on WiFi and WiMAX together. On top of that(correct me if I’m am not wrong), you need to open up the P1 WiMAX connection manager to start using the P1 WiMAX service. Unlike WiFi, you can just search for a network, enter you password and start using the Internet. In other words, there are no much difference between connecting the WiMAX device(WiGGY) to the laptop and a built in WiMAX laptop.

This also justifies something else, Intel is still trying to resolve the compatibility/interference issue between the WiFi(2.4Ghz) and WiMAX(2.3Ghz)device.

WiMAX roaming not there, only P1 WiMAX

From what I’ve noticed so far, the WiMAX laptop that Intel is launching will only be compatible with the P1 WiMAX network. You can’t use it with the upcoming YTL’s WiMAX or the “disappeared” Asiaspace Amax network.

Although Intel could later release a firmware update to fix this, I personally wouldn’t prefer such 1st generation laptops that was made to hook up to the P1 WiMAX network once it is turned on.

P1 WiMAX does not offer mobility

The thing about laptop is that it allows you to use it almost everywhere- cafe, restaurant, even the “mamak stall”. The problem with P1 WiMAX is that their WiMAX network is designed to cover housing areas, not a place like Starbucks where WiMAX laptop users could be found.

I can prove that easily, look for P1 WiMAX network in Starbucks MidValley, Starbucks KLCC(Level 3), Starbucks inside Berjaya Times Square plus a long list of  other cafes where P1’s network map shows that coverage is available at that particular area.

What I’m trying to say is that P1 WiMAX does not have good coverage within buildings/shopping malls where laptop users would use the WiMAX service.

Congested network, more speed sharing

Thanks to P1 WiMAX network on the 2.3Ghz spectrum, it offers wider coverage. In simple word, one WiMAX base station would handle more users versus a small WiFi network in Starbucks.

The question here-Do you want to use a 1Mbps WiFi network with 10 users on it or a WiMAX network with hundreds of user per base station and each of them are promised speed above 1Mbps.

P1 has a congested network right now, think about it.

Remember the WiGGY? It used to offer a so called 10Mbps speed which P1 claims the Fastest Wireless Broadband Network. Now it only offers speed up to 3Mbps.


I have more reason to add but I would prefer to stop here for now. I’m not convinced that we need a WiMAX laptop when WiFi networks are widely available and 3G dongles are so popular today, specifically Malaysia. Users are complaining about broadband speed today and P1 WiMAX is not going to give them a good mobile broadband experience.

Every notebook and netbooks selling out there has WiFi and a USB port for 3G dongles, P1 should have concentrated in something else. For example,  a device like the iPad is something new and I won’t be surprised to see WiMAX on it. P1 is already collaborating with MSi(thanks Intel), will it be hard to manufacture a Wind Pad with WiMAX chipset inside?

I’m not saying that a WiMAX-WiFi laptop is a bad idea, but I think it is not ready for the market/consumers, both the device and the network.

P1, if you are reading this, do sit back and think what consumers want today. Laptops are past, and it is true that most people would need one today but consumers want something more. If you are not up to it, then it makes you no different from the other ISPs out there with fake promises.

P.s: I feel sad for the Malaysians out there who would buy these laptop with a hope that WiMAX would give them a better experience.
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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