Thursday, June 25, 2009

TM's Broadband Monopoly In Malaysia

I noticed of the poor broadband penetration in Malaysia, with as of this time, it is still at a dismal 21 percent, with no chance of hitting the target 70 percent by end of 2010. I have always been very suspicious of saying that penetration is low due to the monopoly and hogging by Telekom Malaysia and its sister subsidiary Celcom over the coverage of network.

I also have looked through the coverage provided by other broadband players such as P1, Maxis, Izzi, and so far, only main cities in the West coast of the peninsular including Kuantan (P1 was already launched in Kuantan on Wednesday and in Ipoh last week) . The rest part of Malaysia and some towns primarily using Streamyx, with small percentage on Jaring broadband.

I find it really unhappy over why people in one city apart from the Klang Valley, Penang / JB / etc is unable to have other broadband options to consumers apart from only making them to pick only Streamyx, which uses the DSL streaming technology. The DSL streaming technology, if ranked by efficiency is 5th. Wifi is 4th, WIMAX is 3rd, High Speed Data Packet Access is 2nd and Radiowave (e.g Izzi) is first. Streaming technology can be very unstable sometimes and this is illustrated through the use of copper wires that TM is still using.

A case in point to illustrate the point above is always Cyberjaya. Cyberjaya was originally envisioned to be a I-City, before Shah Alam, it is to be a city with full of IT activity and thus, broadband penentration in the area is expected to be high as with its neighbor city Putrajaya. However, I have the chance to test Maxis's broadband reception in its area sometime ago and in Puchong, and sad to say that its service coverage was pretty abysmal. I have also enquired to P1 about a possibility of seeing its wireless coverage in Cyberjaya and as of this time, after checking its latest coverage, the answer to me is a no. A check at Izzi on its coverage to shows a resounding no too, although it covers Serdang, Seri Kembangan and Bukit Jalil.

Ini kerana penyibaran broadband terbelenggu di Malaysia kerana TM mengamalkan prinsip“anti-competitive conduct” dalam penentuan tariff bagi rangkaian kuprum (copper network) yang menjanakan fixed-line broadband secara teknologi DSL. Meskipun arahan “unbundling the local loop” telah dikeluarkan beberapa tahun yang lepas, namun TM mengendalikan“predative pricing” sehingga pemain-pemain industri seperti Jaring – satu lagi GLC -- disekat daripada bersaing dalam satu persekitaran industri yang, dengan izin, “level playing field”.

That thing above has put me in conclusion that other broadband players who are better in offering services are stopped high-handedly or in other words could not ply their services there due to the monopoly of Telekom and Celcom. As Jeff said in Parliament, unless Telekom cuts down its monopoly and hogging attitude over communication services here, broadband penentration will not even hit 50 percent by 2010 or 30 percent by end of this year. We will still lose out to other nations even upcoming ones like Indonesia or Vietnam.

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