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Transnasional Express buses get Tablets & WiFi on-board

Celcom Axiata Berhad, sealed a deal today that will provide Transnasional Express, a member of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) – an express bus services operator in the country – with WiFi service across its entire fleet of express buses throughout Semenanjung Malaysia.

[(L-R) Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Bhd showcase the new Transnasional 57 coach-mate service with En. Mohamad Ayob Dellah, Chief Operating Officer of Sinar Aki Sdn Bhd; Dato’ Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, Chairman and Managing Director of Konsortium Transnasional Bhd; Tengku Hasmadi Tengku Hashim, Executive Director of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad; En. Noor Azhar Abu Kassim, Chief Executive Officer of Sinar Aki Sdn Bhd; and En. Nazaruddin Hamzah, Director of Sinar Aki Sdn Bhd.]

Tablet rental will be made available to more than 200 Transnasional routes in phases from next month, and will be priced up to RM10 per passenger but with a launch promotional price from RM4 per passenger. A discount of RM1 will be given to Transnasional loyalty programme members. The first phase will see the project implemented on routes to most major cities in the Southern region.

The WiFi service will also be offered to customers with their own PC/Tablet/smartphone within the next 3 months. The pricing may be different and has not been disclosed yet.

MalaysianWireless was told that the tablets installed on these buses are Huawei’s 7inch Mediapad with customised software. There are currently 57 applications installed including 30 type of games, 20 application for kids and 7 productivity apps. The tablet also offers the recently launched Celcom Educube for students, Facebook, Skype and others. Users however will not be able to install or download any additional apps.

This collaboration is between Sinar Aki Sdn Bhd, the systems and hardware integrator for Transnasional Express, and Celcom Axiata Berhad, who will be the exclusive partner for network services, hardware solutions, managed services and digital content for the project.

Named ’57 coach-mate’, the project will currently see Sinar Aki initially installing Celcom’s WiFi service on-board 50 Transnasional express buses via 3G SIM Bonding, accessed via 850 mobile tablet units with Celcom digital content available for rental to passengers on selected routes.

Under the project, 33 and 41-seater Transnasional express buses will be equipped with 12 tablets per bus, while the 69-seater Transnasional Skyview buses will initially have 20 tablets installed per bus. The number of tablets will be increased in the future to a maximum of 21,600 tablets to accommodate demand if needed.

It is planned to have Sinar Aki install up to 7,200 tablets to cover the entire network of 500 Transnasional buses by year-end.

At the signing, Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad said, “Celcom’s exceptional nationwide coverage and network speeds give tablet users the full advantages of seeing their devices come alive in Celcom Territory. We are proud to work together with Sinar Aki to provide the Transnasional express bus fleet with a WiFi solution service that showcases our network reliability and leadership in the M2M (machine-to-machine) business solutions segment. Celcom’s network strength and stability is the ideal fit for the Transnasional express bus network that, like us, provides extensive connectivity throughout highways and roadways in Malaysia.”

The Celcom CEO added that with the launch of the new service, “we now have more commercial sense to improve the network” along the North-South highway.  He said that Celcom is willing to discuss this with the “real” mobile operators such as DiGi, Maxis and U Mobile for network sharing collaboration.

Dato’ Sri Shazalli admitted to Malaysianwireless that certain routes may not have good 3G coverage and the service may not work well for video streaming. However he said that Celcom is committed to improve the coverage and offer more contents such as movies in the future. Celcom claims to have over 98% mobile coverage at human populated areas in Malaysia.

The mobile operator said it is currently exploring to expand its network services and accessibility within KTB’s infrastructure through the installation of WiFi in KTB’s passenger lounges and implementation of Fleet Management Services through Sinar Aki.

“Apart from enjoying unmatched performance and the widest network coverage in Malaysia through our completion of its Single RAN (Radio Access Network) exercise and upgrading of all 3.5G sites to support data speeds of up to 42 Mbps, Transnasional passengers will get to experience the enhanced multimedia offerings on this tablet platform, powered exclusively by Celcom’s Territory advantage,” Dato’ Sri Shazalli concluded.

KTB claims that it carries about 1.2million passengers a month. It is targeting some 200,000 subscribers a month for the new service.

About Kugan

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