Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TM reveals HSBB access rates

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) (4863), the country's dominant fixed-line operator, has finally revealed the pricing for its High Speed Broadband (HSBB) access to industry players, more than one year after the project was first announced.

This means that service providers, including mobile operators, broadband service providers and pay-TV operators will now know how much it will cost them to ride on TM's fibre optics network to offer services like video-on-demand, Internet protocol television (IPTV), voice call and Internet surfing.

TM met with some 100 industry players in Kuala Lumpur yesterday evening, which lasted over two hours. Besides revealing the prices, TM also made its indicative terms and conditions (ITC) documents available to the players.

It is believed that most of the industry players came away feeling that the pricing offered by TM was "good" and "reasonable", but remained concerned on how the prices will affect them in the long run. "I am concerned over the prices five years down the road.

(That's because) the HSBB access pricing is not in the official access list under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

This means that TM may increase the pricing significantly in the future (if it wants to).
"If it was in the access list, then there's a little bit more control," said an industry player who declined to be named.

Meanwhile, TM executive vice-president Rafaai Samsi gave an assurance that the company would not abuse its "power".
"From our understanding, the government/regulator will only step in when there's a market failure.

So it is in our best interest to keep the pricing reasonable to all, to avoid a market failure," Rafaai told Business Times in an interview yesterday.
Still, some industry players feel that the HSBB access pricing was complicated.

The pricing comes in two forms: a one-time charge and a monthly recurring charge. It charges service providers one-time fees of between RM100 and RM200 for activation of each Internet port.

On a monthly basis, it charges the service providers between RM50 and RM550 per megabit per second (Mbps) for bandwidth subscription. Different monthly charges are catered for different type of usage.
"The pricing we got was too broad.

We will need another discussion with them (TM) personally to get more clarity on the pricing, the timeline as well as the roll-out locations," said an official from Packet One Networks Sdn Bhd.
Still, Rafaai believes that customers will see value in its pricing after studying it in detail.

TM held its first briefing with the industry players March last year to reveal the ITC of the HSBB Transmission service. However, it did not reveal its pricing then. The launch of the HSBB consumer retail service is on schedule: in March this year in Bangsar, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Shah Alam and Subang Jaya.

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