Airocom eyes foreign deals

PETALING JAYA: Wireless communications and software services provider Airocom Technology Bhd, en route to a Mesdaq Market listing next month, is set to venture abroad this year. 

Chief executive Jalaluddin Jaffar said the company was currently following up on enquiries on its products from telecommunication players in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India. 

Jalaluddin said he was confident the company would be able to strike some overseas deals by the first quarter. 

“Airocom plans to be an end-to-end regional wireless communication solutions provider, mainly in the East Asian market, which includes India and China,” he told StarBiz in an interview. 

He said the company was banking on a resilient product range, mainly for various short messaging service (SMS) applications, and was confident of making a strong impact overseas, particularly in neighbouring Asean countries. 

Jalaluddin Jaffar

Jalaluddin said the company would take full advantage of the current Asean Free Trade Area arrangement and focus on Asean in its overseas forays. 

“Governments in Asean are still issuing new licences to cellular network operators, providing huge opportunity for solutions providers like Airocom,” he said. 

Overseas operations would account for the bulk of Airocom’s revenue in the next two to three years, he said.  

On the company's initial public offering (IPO), he said the proceeds would mainly be used for research and development (R&D) as well as regional expansion. “We will spend heavily on overseas marketing, especially on creating the necessary awareness,” he said. 

The company has appointed AmMerchant Bank Bhd as its advisor and the IPO prospectus is slated for release in the next three months. 

Airocom started operations in 1999 by developing software to support SMS. It was granted Multimedia Super Corridor status in 2000 and successfully developed the gateway for Celcom (M) Bhd’s SMS services in 2002. 

“The airoGate is the only SMS gateway that is locally developed and the only telco-grade solutions in the market,” Jalaluddin said. 

The company used the name airoGate for its first product, and the name has since evolved into a brand for its range of solutions. 

Jalaluddin said the stability and resilience of the airoGate solutions would enable the company to offer future development of a wide range of applications.  

Airocom recently developed an SMS service called AiroGate Lite for vehicle maintenance management.  

The product was unveiled at the East Asia Business Exhibition 2005 in Kuala Lumpur last month and attracted a number of car manufacturers. 

Jalaluddin said the technology basically entailed the installation of a chip, which is designed to interact with a car’s electronic system and send out an SMS alert to the owner as well as the car service centre, after sensing even a minor defect in the car. 

“If there’s something wrong with your car, you will get an SMS telling what is wrong.  

“Normally, you know the problem only after sending it to the service centre or when you get back to your car,” he said. 

Among other things, the device is aimed at preventing unexpected vehicle breakdowns, he said, adding that he expected Airocom to tie up with some prominent car and accessories manufacturers this year. 

Jalaluddin said the company, which is headquartered in Shah Alam, had to-date invested RM5mil in its operations, including R&D.  

He said Airocom would use part of the IPO proceeds to enhance its third-generation (3G) applications as well as create new products for the radio frequency identification market and the Internet and broadcasting segments this year. 

On Airocom’s earnings, he said the company, which has a paid-up capital of RM7.5mil, had been profitable since 2002.  

“We have 27 staff, of whom more than 20 are in technical support and R&D,” he added. 

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