High-speed broadband newcomer Vasseti Datatech Bhd (VDT) is considering launching its Internet protocol television (IPTV) service by the third-quarter of this year.
VDT plans to feature a few hundred channel offerings by September, according to a senior company executive.
The company, whose chairman is Tan Sri Syed Yusof Nasir, plans to roll out the IPTV services through its managed services operator GLBB-Japan Co Ltd.
“VDT plans to provide a few hundred television channels, to take advantage of its fibre optic network across the country. We are currently in talks with a few content providers overseas to acquire the content,” the executive told The Malaysian Reserve.
With its plans to rollout IPTV, the company will be another new kid on the block, competing with existing players such as Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), Maxis Bhd, and REDtone International Bhd.
VDT is now actively beta testing its IPTV services and is sourcing television content.
It wants to leverage its fibre optic network which will run across the entire east and west coast of the peninsula, covering more than 1,000km of cables, the official said.
For a start, the company plans to introduce movies, dramas, serials, musicals and other genres for retail consumers, with packages that it estimates could start from RM40 per month.
By the end of the year, VDT aims to register at least 20,000 retail customers using its broadband and IPTV services targeting revenues in excess of RM10 million in 2012.
The company claims to have 100 buildings homes passed in Klang Valley alone. About 70% of them are commercial buildings while the rest are residential condominiums.
With this development, the local IPTV war is likely to move a notch higher as the players seek relevant high quality television content, which will be a critical success factor. Industry observers note that the scramble for exclusive content is already raising temperatures among the various content providers in the region.
So far, Astro All Asia Network plc is said to command a dominant position for local Pay-TV television viewership with about three million subscribers. TM says 80% of its 365,000 UniFi subscribers watch HyppTV, TM’s IPTV service. REDtone is said to have about 5,000 subscribers for its eTV IPTV service.
Maxis is widely expected to launch its IPTV service in the ensuing months.
It is estimated that about 99% of Peninsular Malaysia households have television.
This accounts for a television population of about 19 million in the peninsula alone. With this in mind, VDT believes that the local IPTV market is yet to be fully exploited.
“We believe that the local IPTV market is big enough to sustain multiple-players. There is so much potential in triple play in this country,” says the senior executive.
VDT’s entry will be watched keenly by industry observers, especially by its competitors who have deep pockets in the provision of triple-play services.
The company is also planning its own triple-play strategy by attempting to “hotspot the entire country” through its wireless Internet services.
“We want to create a hotspot in every single major metropolitan area. The plan is to provide the hotspot for free to all our customers. However, we are unable to disclose when this will be completed. Nevertheless we are confident this can be done soon,” says the source.
The fact that VDT’s chairman is a well-known local corporate personality may be another factor why the company is attracting attention from industry players.
It is reported that Syed Yusof had purchased a strategic 30% stake in Vasseti Bhd in 2010. Vasseti is the parent company of VDT with a reported paid up capital of RM15 million.
Syed Yusof has interests in the local hospitality industry, connected with well-known brands like the Hard Rock Cafe and the Concorde Hotel chain.
Early this year, Vasseti was reported to have bought 80% of V Telecoms Bhd, which owns the fibre optic truck network. It is said to have invested more than RM500 million for its fibre optic network.
V Telecoms has both the network facilities provider (NFP) and network services provider (NSP) licence which expires in November 2018, according to information on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission website.
With the NSP and NFP, VDT is able to offer various broadband and triple-play services.