TM to roll out new HSBB product

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) will roll out a new broadband product by mid-year, aimed at providing high-speed broadband (HSBB) services in rural areas and for consumers who prefer mobile broadband.

Its MD and group CEO Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly (picture) said the new service is to supply broadband to areas that do not have fibre coverage.

“Rolling out fibre to the whole country in the next phase of fiberisation will take a while, so we have to cover these consumers who really need it now.

“This ‘magic box’ or ‘rent-abroadband’ will allow people to have broadband in their homes, as well as bring the broadband along when they move to another house. The broadband speed will be at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps), as provided in our HSBB fibre broadband,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The product will mainly address home renters, young parents and individuals, as they are the segments that often refrain from subscribing to fixed broadband lines as they do not have permanent homes.

Mohammed Shazalli added that the product will not incur investment costs for the group as it will utilise TM’s existing copper lines.

On the group’s fiberisation efforts, he said the group now has some 2.8 million ports nationwide, of which 1.21 million are UniFi customers, thus it still has about 1.6 million ports available for more broadband users.

TM inked an agreement with Tenaga Nasional Bhd in January to jointly deliver on the Nationwide Fiberisation Plan (NFP), though the government appointed Broadnet Network Sdn Bhd last year to undertake the agenda.

On whether TM will collaborate with Broadnet Network to implement the NFP, Mohammed Shazalli said Broadnet Network has not approached TM.

“I’ve not spoken to anyone from that company, neither have any of us. They’ve not approached us. When people don’t ask anything, how do you talk to them?”

He added that should another entity join the fiberisation game, they must show their strength.

“Don’t shout about the weakness of your incumbent. We have our strengths. I don’t see any strength from anybody as yet to deliver such aspirations on a scale of national interest. TM looks not from our interest first, but also the interest of the country,” Mohammed Shazalli said.

The group’s net profit climbed 79.5% year-on-year (YoY) to RM277.01 million in the fourth quarter (4Q) ended Dec 31, 2017, on foreignexchange gains recognised from group borrowings.

Fourth-quarter revenue slipped 1.2% YoY to RM3.19 billion due to the decline in turnover from the group’s voice, TM One and TM Global services.

Blended UniFi average revenue per user (ARPU) slid to RM197 in 4Q from RM201 previously, while broadband net ARPU fell to RM90 from RM92.

“We see ARPU trending down a bit because of the larger base, which in turn was because of the migration of 20% to 30% pre-UniFi users to UniFi. We’re confident about future prospects because we see better ARPU contribution from content and premium buys on our television channels,” Mohammed Shazalli said.

The group declared a dividend of 12.1 sen in 4Q, bringing the total dividend payout to 21.5 sen per share for the year.