Monday, May 29, 2023

Opinion: YES 4G lost 50k subscribers within 2 days, targets 14m subscribers

YTL Communications’s Yes 4G service HAD around 150,000 subscribers, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, YTL’s managing director told The Wall Street Journal in a news report dated March 3, 2011 .

However it is believed that YTL Communications lost about 50,000 subscribers within two days as its Chief Executive Officer Wing K. Lee told TheStar that YES currently has 100,000 active users. The news reports on TheStar is dated March 5, 2011.

Malaysian Wireless is wondering what happened to those 50k YES4G subscribers as they disappeared like a ghost.

YES 4G, which had a terrible start when it launched the service in November 2010 as hours later the website went offline leaving newly registered customers in the dark. When the website/service was restored, customers was charged for the service and they were unable to view their usage.

The YES billing was finally issued last month and customers now get to enjoy a proper service. In the mean time, YTL Communication caused a stir in the local telecoms industry by claiming that it has a 700Mhz license for broadcasting.

However it was embarrassing when the Government cleared the air and said that the 700Mhz does not belong to YTL

YTL Communications will spend RM2.5b in 5 years to build the Yes 4G network. According to YTL, the Yes 4G network is designed to support 14 million customers and will cover about 70 percent of the population in Malaysia. It is unknown when will YTL hit the target of 14 million subscribers.

14 million YES4G subscribers by 20xx?

“While Malaysia’s mobile market is saturated with a subscriber penetration rate of 117% in 2010, mobile broadband and 3G services still represent significant opportunities with wireless broadband having the potential to achieve up to 5.6 million subscribers by 2015,” according to Nitin Bhat, Partner & Senior Vice President of the Frost & Sullivan ICT Practice Asia Pacific in February 2010.

Assuming that we have 6 million wireless broadband subscribers in 2015, YTL Communication will have to take about 10 years from now(2011-2021) to get its 14 million subscribers. And that sounds like Telekom Malaysia(WiFi Hotspots), DiGi, Maxis, Celcom, P1 4G, Redtone plus at least 10 others ISPs in Malaysia will have to close down!

Some of these mobile operators have spent billions building their wireless broadband network and have better coverage plus years of experience compared to YTL.

In my opinion, YTL’s target of 14 million subscribers is a terrible joke and it sounds like the other wireless operators doesn’t exist in the market.

Even our existing mobile operators(Celcom, Maxis) have an average 10 million voice subscribers each and that includes quite a number of those who have more than 2 voice accounts(even I have 3 accounts!). Plus these operators have been there for over 10 years!

To me, it is kind of “greedy” to target 14 millions broadband subscribers when Malaysia’s population is only 28-29 million.

How, when does YTL plan to hit 14 million subscribers?

YTL Comm’s 100-150k YES subscribers

If you look at Celcom Axiata,  it leads the wireless broadband market in Malaysia and has over 800k subscribers. The company adds an average less than 100k(about 50k-90k total in four months) mobile broadband subscribers every quarter.

If Celcom gets less than 100k mobile broadband subscribers within 4-months, how did YES 4G get 100k-150k ACTIVE subscribers within 3 months?

Amazing things happens when you say YES because YTL Comms was given a superb media coverage after launch and not to forget that customers wasn’t able to use the YES 4G service completely.

Never mind, let’s be more fair. Packet One(P1) currently has about 280,000 subscribers, including fixed-wireless broadband customers. Take note that P1 was launched in August 2008, that’s more than 24 months ago compared to YES 4G which launched 3 months ago.

Not to forget that the YES is just launching its fixed broadband modem!

So P1 gets 280,000 subscribers in 24-months while YES 4G get 100,000 active subscribers within 3 months? Sounds tricky.

Anyway, who cares!? Its not like the MCMC or the Government is going to investigate all these numbers or……. would they?


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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