TM to reveal affordable broadband initiatives in the coming months

TM Affordable Broadband Initiatives

UPDATE: TM has announced a new entry-level RM79/month Fibre plan and new Turbo Plans with speeds of up to 800Mbps.

Earlier this week, the Minister of Communications and Multimedia had announced that Malaysians could enjoy as much as 25% price reduction on broadband by end of this year. This is due to the implementation of Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) which reduces wholesale prices for broadband.

TM has just issued a statement to respond to the minister’s announcement.

Below is TM’s statement in full:

We wish to inform that Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) has had several engagements in an ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Communications & Multimedia Malaysia and the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC), to reiterate its support of the Government’s aspiration regarding affordable broadband services at higher speed for the nation to increase its competitiveness; and on TM’s proposed initiatives to implement the same. Further details on the initiatives will be announced by TM within the next quarter.

Based on TM’s media statement, they could reveal its revised broadband plans in Q3 2018 which might be implemented in stages. So what can TM customers expect?

From the looks of it, the revision could be somewhat similar to last year’s Budget 2017 initiatives. When the government had called upon broadband providers to double up on speed, TM had offered speed upgrades for new and existing Unifi subscribers while providing extra value with its Unifi TV packs.

For example, the base Unifi 5Mbps plan was originally priced at RM149 and subscribers were upgraded to 10Mbps for free while maintaining the same RM149 subscription fee. Meanwhile, those on 30Mbps will get bumped to 50Mbps, while 50Mbps customers were upgraded to 100Mbps.

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At the moment, the base 10Mbps Unifi Lite plan is currently priced at RM129/month without the Unifi TV set-top-box, while the 30Mbps plan is now offered at RM139/month with its current Raya promo.

If you’re expecting your existing bills to be slashed by 25%, this is quite a tall order. At the end of the day, TM is still a business and any direct price cut would affect its revenue. Every telco will want to at least maintain their average revenue per user (ARPU) and what is more likely to happen is another round of speed upgrades.

Even if you look at the mobile space, telcos such as Maxis have repeatedly upgraded their plans with more quota while having the same subscription fee. If that’s too much and you don’t need the upgrade, you can always downgrade your plan to a cheaper option, provided you’re not tied to a contract.

Of course, the government could bulldoze its way through and make the immediate price reduction possible. Analysts from PublicInvest Research have also forecasted that TM could potentially see an increase of 15% in Unifi subscriptions if its broadband rates become more affordable. Since TM is investing a total of RM2.3 billion in HSBB 2 and SUBB projects to increase connectivity nationwide, they would likely appeal to the government if the move affects their revenue. The HSBB 2 project will cover state capitals and major towns while SUBB focuses on sub-urban areas to upgrade existing copper lines to faster connectivity of up to 100Mbps.

As mentioned before, while cheaper and faster broadband is always welcomed, the biggest issue is still access to quality high-speed broadband. Broadband providers can offer affordable broadband but what’s the use if the majority of Malaysians can’t subscribe? If we look at the previous speed upgrade, only those with fibre coverage have benefited while Streamyx users continue to pay more than RM100 per month for slow connectivity.

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At the moment, TM has 2.33 million broadband subscribers and only 1.13 million are on UniFi. That leaves 1.2 million Malaysians still connected to slow Streamyx and this is definitely not because Malaysians prefer slower internet.

What do you think? Leave your comments down below.

[ SOURCE 2 ]

Alexander Wong