Thursday, March 19, 2009

DiGi launched mobile broadband services

THE DiGi mobile broadband launch was great, definitely one of the better launch i have attended.

If only they have a bigger room for the press conference, or have a way to allow all the media to see the powerpoint presentation, then it would be perfect.

Anyway, the company's mobile broadband package comes in three price plans:

1. RM58 a month: You will be using a 3.6Mbps modem (like most HSPA modems), unlike other telcos which offer speed on best effort basis, the company promised that those who signed up to this plan will get approx 700kbps type of speed, which i feel is a very good speed if its true. Quota: 3Gb. If exceed 3Gb, 15 sen will be charged for every 10Mb. Broadband bill will be capped at RM138. This means, you can "exceed" your quota all you want, and still dont have to pay RM500 in mobile broadband bills.

2. RM108 a month: Same modem as above. Average speed is about 700kbps (just like above). The only difference is the quota, which is at 10Gb. The RM138 cap also applies.

3. RM188 a month: You will be using a 7.2 Mbps modem. Average speed: 2Mbps!! Quota: 20Gb. If exceed quota, no additional costs. But, user may experiencce slower speed.

As we can see, DiGi is clearly competing with Celcom and Maxis on different grounds. Rivals may react by offering more quotas in future, or commit itself into stuff like "average speed" instead of the usual "best effort".

Its chief executive officer Johan Dennelind said it aims to capture 1/3 of the broadband market share. A tall order, but not an impossible task though.

With penetration rate of barely 25 per cent, anything can happen. The key now is to deliver a broadband experience that is above customers' expectations.

Intend to try out the services soon, hopefully the coverage and speed are as good as it promised.

Update on one of DiGi's plan


Spoke to some of the DiGi management. Apparently, the 50Gb quota has expired, as it is only for the promotional period. Good news is that, those who signed up the package will still get the 50Gb quota.


DiGi will be revealing a RM128 plan, that gives its customers a quota of 50 GB!! That's very GENEROUS.

I am sure other operators will look into DiGi's offering seriously. Don't be surprise if they increase the quotas.

Currently, Maxis mobile broadband users have a 3Gb quota, while Celcom broadband users have a 5Gb quota.

The launch is another 1-2 hours away. Will see what are the other two price plans.

Thanks Xeon for the link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DiGi.Com launching mobile broadband services TOMORROW!!


DiGi.Com Bhd, the country's third largest mobile operator, will be launching its mobile broadband service tomorrow in Petaling Jaya.

Details are still sketchy, but it is believed that there will be three broadband plans, for people with different type of appetites.

In many perspective, i believe it could spark competition in different area. Instead of pricing, i believe mobile operators will now have to look into other areas like:

1. The consistency of speed offered by telcos.

2. The "cap" or "limit" set by the telcos. Currently, operators implement a "3Gb-5Gb" cap on users. Meaning: those who exceed the limit will experience poorer bandwidth quality.

We will go into detail once the pricing and plans are introduced.

Monday, March 16, 2009

iPhone deal not exclusive?

Looks like Maxis Communications Bhd, the country's leading mobile operator, did not secure the exclusive rights for the iPhone.

So, those who complaint or not satisfied with the pricing and packages, can try waiting till the other operators offer the phone.

Just like Singapore, even though SingTel was the first to offer the iPhone, it does not stop rivals M1 and StarHub to negotiate with Apple to bring in iPhones.

At the end of the day, it all depends on whether the prices offered by Apple makes commercial sense for the Celcoms and DiGis. Subsidies will be a key issue here. How can the Celcoms and DiGis come out with a competitive price plan for the iPhone if there will be heavy subsidies?

For more info: pls read the Business Times article at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

iPhone 3G officially making its way to Malaysia stores

THE much-awaited iPhone 3G will be officially be on sale starting next week, March 20 7.00pm to be precise.

Yup, the phone -- which sold 1 million units in 3 days, that became one of the main topic during GSM Asia Mobile Congress in Macau in November last year, and created so much attention that prompted rivals like Palm Inc, Motorola, Samsung, LG and even BlackBerry to launch their own touch-screen models -- will finally be here (officially).

So far, Maxis has a specially-designed pricing plans for these iPhone enthusiasts.

For RM100 a month, over a 24-month period, customers can get 333 minutes of voice credit, and 500MB of data credit.

For RM155 a month, customers get 666 minutes of voice credit and 1GB of data credit.

For RM250 a month, they get 1,500 minutes of voice credit and 2GB of data credit.

For RM375 a month, they get 2,500 minutes, and 3GB of data credit.

While the pricing may seem competitive, i am very disturbed over the way Maxis package the plans. As a consumer, i would prefer a surf-all-you-can type of data package, rather than 3GB or 500MB, as it would eliminate the fear of overspending.

By signing up to 1GB or 3GB plan, one would be constantly monitoring how much it is downloading, surfing... That, is not what internet experience is all about.

As for the phone's pricing, it varies. If you sign up for the RM375 a month package, you can get the 8GB iPhone 3G for free, and the 16GB version for RM260. If you sign up for the RM100 package, the 8GB phone is RM1590 while the 16GB phone is RM1890.

While it will definitely spark a lot of interest from iPhone lovers, generate loads of conversation topics, whether it will be a big hit in the country, is remain to be seen. Will those Omnia users, those who bought "modified" iPhone, sign-up to the Maxis iPhone packages? We'll find out in a few weeks' time.
Another concern is the timing of the launch...Yes, it is probably going to steal some limelight away from DiGi, which is going to launch its 3G services soon. Will the launch take the country by storm, at a time when consumers' main concerns are job security, employment, fuel costs, higher cost of living and slowing economy?
visit for more details.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will per second block charges take off?

DON'T you love idea of per-second block? Why pay for the unused seconds? Why do we need to be charged at least 17 sen when we hung up as soon as the voice mail takes over?

Personally, I am a fan of per-second billing. It's practical.

Here's the tricky part. The only player who package their prepaid plan that way is U Mobile, the fourth largest mobile operator by subscriber base. Most of U Mobile's network is currently riding on Celcom's network. That arrangement itself will limit U Mobile's ability to compete in pricing.

Plus, being a new player in the industry, the company simply can't lower its tariff too much, as it will hurt its margin. Lower margins will eventually prolong its return of investment period.

So, on what situation we can see all players offering per-second block charges?

Here are the few scenarios:

1. Ask everyone you know, convince them to bite the bullet (for the short-term period), switch to U Mobile. If this initiative can create a storm, i.e. it has more than 3 million users by end 2009 (1 million from each operator: Maxis, Celcom, DiGi), we can be rest assured that the incumbents will offer a more attractive prepaid plan.

2. Complain. Keep complaining. Never be comfortable with what you have. Always ask for more. Write to the operators. Write letters to editors of newspaper publication. Tell them that the operators are should start offering value-for-money prepaid services, tell them that 15, 30, 45, 60 second block charges should be abolished as it confuses consumer.

Yea. You may be wondering why am I making a big fuss over block charges and all. Well, lately, a colleague of mine was surprised over her expensive phone bill. She claimed that she does not talk a lot on the phone. But, she did admit that she did make a lot of calls that went to voice mail, the thing is, she kept calling the person again and again, and the call kept goes to the voice mail.

So, she will probably be charged RM3.30 if she is on Maxis Hotlink, for 10 phone calls to a same number that went to voice mail. If she is under U Mobile, those 10 phone calls that went to voice mail (provided if she hung up within a second), would cost 8 sen.

"I hung up as soon as i heard the voice mail!" she claimed.

Well, it doesn't matter... That's how the operators make money.

Below are the rates offered by the top four players:

Celcom: at least 35 sen a minute. 30 second a block (depending who you call, where you call etc)

DiGi: 36 sen a minute. 30 second a block.

Maxis: 33 sen a minute. 60 second a block.

U mobile: 0.8 sen a second. per second block.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How the Malaysian telecommunications players performed in 2008? (Part 2)

Based on an industry official, Maxis posted at least 12 per cent increase in revenue during the fourth quarter, the highest quarterly growth rate among its peers.

However, the same source added that, for the full year, Maxis posted an 8 per cent growh in revenue.

Question is, how does the company grew by at least 12 per cent in the final quarter?

I wonder if it has anything to do with its revision of BLOCK CHARGES? While DiGi and Celcom charges at per-30 second block, Maxis' Hotlink charges at per minute block.

It was understood that it revise its block charges sometime in Q4.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How the Malaysian telecommunications players performed in 2008?

Finally, the much-awaited fourth quarter numbers have been revealed.

In a nutshell, the country's largest fixed-line operator Telekom Malaysia Bhd announced weaker Q4 numbers, but the "bad news" was overshadowed by the 98 sen a share capital repayment.

Its sister company, TM International Bhd (soon to be known as Axiata Group Bhd), also disappointed investors, by recording a fourth quarter net loss of more than RM500 million, mainly due to the weaker ringgit and rupiah.

Even DiGi.Com Bhd, the third largest mobile player in the country, also posted weaker fourth quarter numbers. Although Q4 sales grew by 5 per cent to RM1.23 billion (Q407: RM1.18 billion), its Q4 net profit was down by 4 per cent to RM282 million. It posted RM293 million same period a year ago.

Let's look at the mobile players numbers in detail:


Fourth Quarter

DiGi: RM1.23 billion (+5 per cent)

Celcom: RM1.47 billion (+11 per cent)

Verdict -- Celcom wins.

Full year

DiGi: RM4.8 billion (+10 per cent)

Celcom: RM5.6 billion (+10 per cent)

Verdict -- Tie. Both grew by about 10 per cent.


Fourth quarter

DiGi: RM536 million (-8 per cent)

Celcom: RM664 million (+9 per cent)

Full year

DiGi: RM2.17 billion (+2.9 per cent)

Celcom: RM2.54 billion (+10 per cent)


DiGi: 45.1 per cent

Celcom: 45.2 per cent


Fourth quarter:

DiGi: RM282 million (-4 per cent)

Celcom: RM336 million (+12 per cent)

Full year:

DiGi: RM1.14 billion (+7 per cent)

Celcom: RM1.29 billion (+23 per cent)


DiGi: +294k (or +4 per cent) in fourth quarter, +653k (+ 10 per cent) in 2008.

Celcom: +507k (or 6 per cent) in fourth quarter, +1.56 million (+22 per cent) in 2008.


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