TELECOMS & INFRASTRUCTURE
UniFi opens up the digital gateway for South-East Asia
Telekom Malaysia’s high-speed internet service heralds a new era of digital lifestyle
TELEKOM MALAYSIA (TM) signed a pub- lic-private partnership agreement with the Malaysian government in September 2008 to develop next-generation high-speed broad- band (HSBB) infrastructure and services for Malaysia. It is an RM11.3 billion (£2.3 bil- lion) national joint venture, with TM in- vesting RM8.9 billion (£1.8 billion), while the government is investing RM2.4 billion (£486 million).
After embarking on an aggressive 18- month project development and execution, TM officially launched its HSBB service on 24 March 2010 under the brand name UniFi. At the time of the launch, TM had already covered over 300,000 ‘premises passed’ (premises that are connected by UniFi and have the ready option to take up the broadband service) and it expects to reach 750,000 premises by the end of 2010. Approximately 1.3 million premises will be passed nationwide by TM in high-impact eco- nomic areas, giving them access to HSBB services by the end of 2012.
With HSBB connectivity, we have an enabler that will propel Malaysia to realise the produc- tivity potential that can be brought about by having access to larger bandwidths. For exam- ple, it would enable the nation to progress to higher value-added and knowledge-intensive economic activities. More importantly, Malaysian citizens and businesses can tap into the opportunities in the social, business, eco- nomic and technological spheres provided by a globalised and increasingly connected world. Local and foreign companies here will have ac- cess to new applications and be able to reach more markets, which
DATUK ZAMZAMZAIRANI MOHD ISA CEO of Telekom Malaysia
TM is an expanding company, posting a profit of 180.4 per cent in 2009 and rev- enue of approximately $2.69 billion (£1.78 billion). Here, CEO Datuk Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa speaks about the next phase of growth for TM and how UniFi will revolu- tionise Malaysian digital lifestyles.
What benefits do you expect from UniFi?
Broadband services are already available here, but at limited speeds. Our recently launched HSBB service, UniFi, is leapfrogging the entire marketplace, offering speeds of 5MB, 10MB and 20MB to customers.
14 World Report
Launching UniFi’s high- speed broadband services will also be a catalyst to spur economic growth
here is relatively low, compared to most advanced economies in the region. TM currently holds 95 per cent market share in the fixed broadband market. In a more competitive broadband space, with competition coming from the 3G/HSDPA/WiMax players, TM still leads with 55 per cent market share. In terms of delivering value to shareholders, we have a dividend policy of RM700 million ringgit (£142 million) or 90 per cent of normalised Profit After Tax and Minority Interest (PATAMI). With the proposed total dividend payout of RM706.5 million for the financial year 2009, that brings our 12-month total return to shareholders to 38.5 per cent, the highest amongst all fixed peers in the region.
in turn will boost the potential for foreign direct investment from multinational players seeking to use Malaysia as a regional hub. UniFi means we can deliver an improved dig- ital lifestyle for bandwidth-hungry Malaysians. The service is a triple-play offering of simulta- neous video, high-speed internet and telephony. For areas outside HSBB, we also have broadband for general population (BBGP) services provided by TM and other industry players. TM’s BBGP ser- vice, called Streamyx, currently has 1.45 million customers.
Would it be fair to say that TM is a role model company in the region? With an extensive network covering the nation, both on copper and fibre-optic cables, TM is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the broadband boom. The broadband penetration rate of about 34 per cent of households
What corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives has TM put in place?
CSR has now evolved into Corporate Re- sponsibility (CR) and is an integral part of all our operations, including the marketplace, workplace, community and the environment. Last year, TM won awards in recognition of its community service and the best practices we applied in the work place.
Regarding IC , we are adopting schools, providing them with computers and connectivi- ty and training both students and teachers. On the community side, we support single mothers and their families by giving them entrepreneur- ial training. Our foundation, Yayasan TM, pro- vides scholarships to outstanding and deserv- ing students to pursue their tertiary education in Malaysia and overseas.
TM has also spent some RM800 million (£163 million) to develop Multimedia Univer- sity (MMU) into one of the top universities in Malaysia with more than 20,000 students. MMU is renowned for its highly marketable graduates: 93 per cent secure employment within the first six months of graduation. ●
KTMB: improving rail travel
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), the main rail operator on the peninsula, is currently undergoing a major process of upgrading and modernisation that has opened up opportunities for investment. President of KTMB Dr Aminuddin Adnan says, “We are looking into liberalising our network for someone to take over our assets. We are also looking for second or third operators who can bring in commuter, intercity and freight services. These are opportunities for both local and foreign investors. There needs to be investment in developing the infrastructure, plus new rolling stock.”
According to Minister of Transport
Dato’ Sri Ong Tee Keat, state-owned KTMB’s growth strategy will see new infrastructure, like the double tracking from Gemas to Padang Besar, and rapid train services between major cities.
New rolling stock is much needed to enhance commuter services