The news which just came in today morning regarding Malaysian Football League LLP (MFL) has filed a legal suit against Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) over breach of contract. Being one of the largest telecommunication companies in Malaysia, their share price has fallen nearly 2% today. According to the previous update from TM group chief executive officer Imri Mokhtar, TM will be focusing on accelerating services convergence and selling all of its product and services under one brand, unifi. The most apparent outcome from this would be reintroducing their unlimited postpaid plan formerly known as “webe” to “unifi Mobile”.

Based on the current telecommunication industry in Malaysia, there are six largest players including Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, Unifi Mobile, and Yes. More and more of them are joining the race of achieving 5G technology by working with the regulators. Digi is leveraging on their 5G trials as it is being carried out by their parent company Telenor Group in Norway. However, they are in the process of deciding to build their own fibre or leasing it from other providers depending on the future prospect.

On the other hand, Maxis and Celcom have both plans to commence their first 5G trials in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. Maxis has announced their collaboration with Huawei for this project while Celcom has also teamed up with Huawei alongside with Ericsson to showcase Malaysia’s first 5G trial. Celcom and the team are claiming the throne of the first 5G trial to be conducted in South East Asia utilising the higher 28GHz band.

Just a couple days ago, U Mobile has also announced their engagement in relating to 5G deployment in Malaysia. They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ZTE Corporation which is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company. As mentioned by U Mobile CEO Wong Heang Tuck, they are planning to run the live tests in selected areas in the Kuala Lumpur city.

As of June 2018, the information obtained by from all telecommunication companies’ official website, four out of the six companies mentioned above is claiming that they have achieved above 50% human population coverage of the 4G network.  For the coverage of the 3G network, they are claiming the accomplishment as high as 70% human population in entire Malaysia. Nevertheless, when we went through the comments section of their social media platforms, we can observe angry and annoyed customers are expressing their unsatisfaction in words. In this kind of situation, who should bear the responsibility of answering those questions? Is it a false promise, or there is the presence of blind spots?

Referring to the report done by OPENSIGNAL for the month of October 2018, the higher 4G growth in Malaysia comes with a cost. The overall expansion of 4G network causes the 4G download speed for all operators to drop except U Mobile based on a period of six months. This is because with more customers signing up for 4G plans, they would consume more capacity on each network, causing the average download speed to fall. Hence, the need for 5G technology to be put in place into the current mobile network condition is once again being probed. Although now it is yet to be launched officially to the end-consumers, the price of the future 5G mobile plans is expected to be higher since cost has been incurred for the planning and implementing stages.

To conclude the current scene of the telecommunication industry in Malaysia, let us discuss further their customer service. Customers determine the future of a company and their satisfaction is the primary aim of every company. Through the evolvement of Industrial Revolution 4.0, some of the telco companies are applying chatbot into their website and application hoping to solve issues faced by customers. In my personal humble experience and opinion, the existence of these bots is not helping at all. Whenever we require assistance from the customer service, it mostly wouldn’t be a straightforward issue and the bots are not programmed to answer to them. Back to the original and traditional method, we need to call the hotline and wait to be directed to the operators. This whole process of solving an issue might take up to a countless time of calling the hotline and it is extremely troublesome for customers.

For your information, other than the main stores of the telco companies, they have appointed many official dealers for our convenience. Nonetheless, most of these dealers are just able to process mobile plans registration and bill payment but not plans cancellation nor plans adjustments. All in all, there is still a huge space of improvement for all telco companies in Malaysia. With more formation of new telco companies in Malaysia, the competition of market dominance continues.

Author: Alexander Goh


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