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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- http://www.whatisinside.com.my/

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.


About Kugan

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

    Not sure why you have such a bad impression of P1…although they have their issues but at least they are contributing towards the development of broadband in M’sia not to mentioned alot of things they achieved did make up proud as Malaysian’s..

    Last time when Wifi was embedded onto notebooks Consumers tends to say the same thing..but end up otherwise..

    • Hi..thanks for the comment.

      I like P1 as a company, not against them.

      Intel is late to embed WiMAX into laptops(3G is here) and P1 cannot be launching something which their network can’t handle. More complains on speed and coverage soon.

  • cir3gnaw

    a poorly written article. but then again, that’s just my opinion…

    1. WiMAX laptops are not ready
    – if you were to observe how WiMAX laptops are being sold, it isn’t uncommon for ODMs/OEMs to partner with Network Providers to distribute devices. selling devices which are unprovisioned with credentials just isn’t feasible just yet

    2. WiMAX roaming not there, only P1 WiMAX
    – the WiMAX Forum has been trying their best to establish standards for roaming but it hasn’t been easy. so far roaming has only been enforced in Taiwan with other places to follow. so it will have to take some time before this is as easily done as GSM roaming. (like you said anyway, it’s not as though m’sia has plenty of other networks available anyway)

    3. P1 WiMAX does not offer mobility
    – tell me that you’re aware of the P1 Hotzone hotspots (and Wireless KL hotspots set up by P1) set up around KL and PJ. WiMAX has obvious indoor coverage issues so to help with the problem WiFi has been offered to P1 customers who’d like to surf the net in some areas with lower WiMAX signal.

    as a journalist, i would hope that you’d do your share of research before shooting off your opinions which do not hold water. WiMAX is still new technology in m’sia and it will take time for it to get better. in the meantime, let’s play nice, okay?

    • Hi cir3gnaw,Thanks for the comment. I managed to trace you and I know who do you work for, but I respect your privacy and will not disclose your details here.As to respond you:1. That’s why I said WiMAX laptop is not ready, just like you said it- “selling devices which are unprovisioned with credentials just isn’t feasible just yet”2.I agree with you but Intel launching with P1 only is not fair to other operators. Like you said it will take some time but I think it can be done now.3. So where should I use my laptop with WiMAX if not indoor? P1 Hotzone has very limited coverage and WirelessKL is not reliable, plus its slow 500Kbps is shared with all users.P1 launched in 2008, about two months from now it will be 2 years old. Don’t blame the technology when P1 applied for the license and said it will deliver it. P1 customers would expect the service and experience to be delivered, so deliver it and I will write nice things about it.P.s: A blogger is not a journalist.

      • 3. P1 WiMAX does not offer mobility

        — I agree, take my P1 desktop modem if I suddenly move in front of it the signals goes away (signal can’t penetrate my body, perhaps). Same goes for my backup P1 Wiggy, if it moves a bit the signal strength varies.

      • Wutakcheck

        funny thing is consumer are easier sway by all those advertisement, etc… what i find is malaysia consumer even the young educated one don’t do enough research when signing up uh? … maybe majority not tech savvy enough like singaporean?? kiasu lot… which benefict themself more, than signing up to a rotten deal??

      • shah

        ‘Thanks for the comment. I managed to trace you and I know who do you work for, but I respect your privacy and will not disclose your details here.’

        haha! talking bout being a stalker and invasion of privacy.why do you even need to trace him up?unless you’re being grudgeful.

        p.s: a blogger is not a journalist but he/she too,needs to be professional.

        • franz

          what’s with the reposting stuff?

    • Jason Lee

      Do note that P1 Hotzone, a prepaid WIFI service, has been taken down by P1.

  • You should not be negative about the launch of WiMAX laptops. The need for such device to cater for broadband on the go has been there long time ago. P1 is also working hard to handle the congestion and coverage issues. There is no need for WiMAX roaming at the moment.

    • Thanks Anil, we all have our opinions right?

  • Cheetong

    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.

    –> you just use the connection manager like how you use the WiFi one.

    • thanks for commenting..:)

      What I mean was- its different from the WiFi connection manager right?

  • wan

    Hello. This is my first time commenting so allow me to share my 2 cents.

    You are saying that P1 does not offer mobility and point out places such as those coffee shops and cafes. I’m sorry but do you even understand mobility?

    It means that you are moving from point A to point B and getting access/coverage along the way. Like cellphones. But your point seems to imply in being stationary rather than on the move which does not goes well with your argument.

    Their weak coverage in those places are because their in-building solutions are not that well.

    What I think you are trying to say is that P1 does not support mobile Wimax or Wibro as they call it in Korea. Being able to surf with broadband speed on the move ie inside your car for example.
    But anyway I think your website is good for those who is interested in telco industry in our country and for that, you are really doing a good job.


    • Hi Wan, thank you for the compliments…:)

      I do understand what is mobility and I agree with you. But before we talk about mobility, the service need to be portable and P1 is not there, yet.

      I brought up cafes and Restaurants because these are places where you can easily find people surfing the net on their laptops. My message was- P1 doesn’t even have coverage in these areas, and they are no where close to being mobile.

      Note, P1 is carrying the 802.16e license that is designed to be mobile.

  • Lol, Kugan, according to them (once again), their package with the laptops would be a “up to 10Mbps package” again. I do agree, that it’s quite a joke. What we need is not a WiMAX inside netbook/notebook, it should be something revolutionary where it CAN be used anywhere, not just near the windows or whatever. The current limitation with WiMAX is that it’s not really wall penetratable. But however, I must admit, among so many ISPs in Malaysia, I do think that they provide the best customer service in town. Not even one other joker competitor could provide such hassle-free customer service. But P1, please, the first thing you need to do is to allow seamless integration of maybe WiMAX and 3G/LTE or whatever other technologies so that even when people are unable to get a WiMAX signal, at the minimal least, they could use other options. And perhaps sharing the WiMAX signal could be a plus point too? A closed small network of internet connection via Wi-Fi certainly is a good idea.

    • Samloo88

      Bro Derek,

      Speed wise, you may get more than 10Mbps if you are the only user on that cell.

      GSM/3GHSPA/LTE and WiMAX war appears to be heating up, but technology wise, they appear not to be complementary

    • Artist Neoworld

      Guys,,, I have a feq qestions. what is the releationship bwteen p1, greenpacket to Wimax and wht is not so succesful as data carrier for 2 years now and why does YTL feel they can do something interesteing with their 2.4 billion ringiit 4G nationwide inititaive?please enlighten me:)

      • Artist Neoworld

        Also to point fyi that i have used wimax in the states and thats through sprint,whom i understand is also collaborating through clear wire for YTL to launch 4 G here. i came to malaysia just 3 months ago . so just to enhance my question , I want to know why Wimax didnt do well here before? yes i also understand that its MOBILE 4g that coming out later during the year and this means on the move with access anywhere through more base stations.Thank You

  • Deportilova

    With LTE coming in shortly to Maxis, Digi and Celcom , WIMAX got no chance. Even P1 also are bleeding due to massive losses in wimax for the past 3 years consequently.
    I predict that P1 will no longer be around in 3 years time. Just look at how wimax companies are performing in other countries and you’ll get the picture.

    • Guest1

      Numbers of worldwide operators building commercial LTE network is still relatively low. Operators’ commitment to LTE doesn’t mean they will launch commercial network at once. Definition of LTE is Long Term Evolution, which means eventually all older generation technologies can evolve to LTE. Which says WiMAX network can also evolve to LTE network if P1 chooses to do it. I believe the problem is whether Malaysia goverment will grant P1 with a LTE license.

      • Deportilova

        As it is, Greenpacket should go under the classification of PN17 soon. Their financial results speaks for itself. Boasting about their EBIT is not going to pacify their shareholders after a spectacular 3 consecutive years of increasing losses. Don’t even hope for mcmc to even consider giving them LTE license.

    • Samloo88


      Which WiMAX companies outside Malaysia has bungkus?

      • Wutakcheck

        not bungkus yet… but all considering switching to LTE. two world largest Clearwire and YOTA … Wimax will never be a Tier-1 technologies for telco/celco… because 802.16e standardize too rigid. and no heavy weight celco back this technology lorr… that’s the problem la, only china/taiwan supplier.

  • Guest1

    “Thanks to P1 WiMAX network on the 2.3Ghz spectrum, it offers wider coverage. ” -The higher the frequency, coverage will be smaller. 2G is currently at 900Mhz and 1800Mhz while 3G at 2.1Ghz, both technology is offering wider coverage compare to WiMAX’s 2.3Ghz.

  • Anthony

    Hi Mr Kugan,
    Q1- Why you need turn on Wifi & Wimax at the same time?
    Q2- Are you sure these laptop can only ride on P1 networks not others?

    • Allan

      A1: WiFi can connect to any local area network served as a client on a network, wherein WiMAX is for internet connection. so, that is the reason to turn on both technology at the same time.

      A2: for sure P1 will not be stupid to create a WiMAX netbook to allow YTL or AMAX customers to use right? what do you think???

  • Desmond

    2nd time commenting. I know someone who has works with Intel. According to him the WiMAX chip embedded allows for the usage of other WiMAX networks, not just only P1. I’ve not tried the netbook so I can’t verify this claim. Have you?

  • Jason Bourne

    I agree, with Jon Stubnm… What a demoralizing childish attempt to say negative remarks behind a virtual wall.. P1 is a young and dynamic company poised for future advancement of the country quite similar to ASTRO. Only difference is.. apart from its line of product and services, P1 does not monopolize the segment. I strongly believe what P1 is doing is great. Kudos to P1!!! Don’t let this guy bring your high morale down…

    • Samloo88

      One man’s meat is another man’s poison

      Just take a look at Maxis. They had their huge challenges with coverage, capacity & quality to manage since 1995

      Let’s give new startups a pat on the back instead of whacking for the sake of whacking

    • Deportilova

      There used to be another cable tv company sometime ago in malaysia called megatv. I died off quietly in less than 5 years of operation due to satellite tv which got broader penetration, cleare pictures due to advancement in tech.
      As long as wimax users need to leave behind their wimax powerd notebooks or modems behind when travelling to east malaysia or overseas due to the nonconfirmity standards in wimax, there’s no way for this technology to survive.
      When intel finally pulls the plug on wimax, all you get is a useless wimax modem instead.That’s how bad the business prospect outlook in wimax.

  • Mafiz

    SInce everyone’s commenting about wireless networks, have a look at this article on merits of wired/fibre over WIMAX/3G/LTE. Read this article if you want to know why fibre is the way to go to support future bandwidth demand.


  • JQ

    Hi Kugan,
    I am on Packet 1 Home Pro 2.4 connection, upgrade from Home Basic 1.2.Speed is not stable and especially at night is very hard to connect and it fall very fast.I use speedtest.net to do my speedtest and out of the 158 speedtest that I did,I can only get a stable 2.4 speed which happen only at wee morning (after 1.00am – around 6.00am for weekdays and weekends after 2.00am depending on users logging off for rest).Each time Packet 1 announce a network maintenance, I don’t see any better in speed but a drop in quality.The best P1 offer me with regards to my complain is a waiver of monthly fees and close the case. So by offering the laptops with wimax, P1 is only putting more users on the BTS and more complain will come as speed drop.Instead of bringing wimax notebook,why not take a look at how to solve the congestion issues first before talking about offering mobility.

  • Yan

    wifi n wimax only share “wi” for wireless.

    theorical route:

    2G -> 2.5G ( GPRS ) -> 2.75G ( EDGE ) -> 3G -> 3.5G ( HSDPA ) -> 4G ( WiMax )
    **ezy word WiMax like WCDMA/UMTS**

    Wired Network -> Wireless Network ( WiFi : IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n )