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Saturday March 27, 2010

TM’s UniFi packages cannot be unbundled

starbiz@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: The three UniFi packages launched by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) on Wednesday cannot be unbundled and consumers have to take what is offered as there is no a la carte options.

This could potentially be an issue for some users who may not want all UniFi offers. UniFi’s packages priced at RM149, RM199 and RM249 per month come with high-speed broadband, IPTV (Internet protocol TV), free voice calls and some other offerings.

With the pricing viewed as being on the high side, many wonder if TM could have priced the packages lower by unbundling these offerings.

“It is all bundled together, there is (no a la carte),” TM group chief executive officer Datuk Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa said.

An industry source said: “There could be potential issues about TM’s packaging if the end-users do not want the IPTV and it cannot be unbundled. It is not really free but part of the package, so shouldn’t TM have an unbundled option?”

Consumers may wonder if they are actually subsidising the IPTV and voice offerings, which under the packaging are free or whether TM is subsidising the cost of the items under its three packages.

Zamzamzairani said: “It is not about subsidy, there is just too much suspicion. It is all about us moving to a lifestyle offering and this is all about triple play.”

A triple-play network is one in which voice, video and data are all provided in a single access subscription. Globally, the trend is for telcos to move into triple-play to mitigate the flat revenues from fixed-line networks.

Zamzamzairani said the UniFi plans came with an additional 8Mbps of bandwidth for IPTV, so subscribers, say for the 5Mbps packaging, would actually be getting 13Mbps.

That aside, the market is abuzz over the cap issue that TM has imposed on its UniFi packages. The tweeters on Twitter were vociferous with their comments as they are disappointed with the cap on the download speed. They are even more furious that the data download caps are calculated on a daily basis.

TM in a statement yesterday said it would not implement the cap on downloads for UniFi immediately.

Earlier, Zamzamzairani told StarBizWeek: “To us it is not a cap, it is a trigger point. We want to implement a fair usage policy for this new service, it will not be done immediately, we will monitor usage first.”

UniFi’s 5Mbps service is capped at 60GB of data per month, 10Mbps service at 90GB while the 20Mbps service has a 120GB cap.

Zamzamzairani said fair usage policy was a standard practice that allowed all users to have the same surfing experience rather than one party hogging the network and the others experiencing throttling speeds.

He cited the case of TM Streamyx where 6% of its 1.45 million users were using 80% of Streamyx’s download capacity and the rest had to do with the remaining 20%.

UniFi is now available in four areas in the Klang Valley with 311,000 premises passed and it has 500 trial users. Since Wednesday the service is commercially available in those areas. TM has received “positive” feedback on its services but Zamzamzairani did not reveal the number of new users that have signed up since.

 
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