TM to unveil capex for mobility unit soon

Budget allocation: (from left) Telekom Malaysia Bhd executive director and group chief financial officer Datuk Bazlan Osman, chairman Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob and Group CEO Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa at a briefing after the company’s AGM and EGM. TM will announce its capex allocation for its mobility unit ‘webe’ when the service is commercially launched soon. See story on page 3

KUALA LUMPUR: The capital expenditure (capex) allocation for Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s (TM) mobility unit “webe” will be disclosed when the sevice is commercially launched, according to TM’s chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa.

webe, formerly known as Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd (P1), was launched early this month under a rebranding exercise. However, at the brand’s launch, no mobile plans were announced.

“We expect that webe will be available commercially in the middle of the year. Only then will you be able to see the actual packages on offer,” he told reporters after the group’s AGM here yesterday.

A rollout of its mobile broadband segment would be a capital-intensive endeavour, especially if TM plans to catch up with the big telcos in the same space.

webe’s CEO C.C. Puan was quoted as saying that the company was focusing on the 4G long-term evolution rollout and the upgrading of its network prior to the service’s launch.

In its previous iteration, P1, through its Wimax mobile broadband service, managed to capture a subscriber base of just above 500,000 in 2014, or far below the segment’s top players – Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd and U Mobile.

Zamzamzairani: ‘It is proceeding as planned and we intend to introduce the service in phases.’
Zamzamzairani: ‘It is proceeding as planned and we intend to introduce the service in phases.’

TM has a 72.9% shareholding in webe after boosting its stake last February from 55.3% previously, following an early conversion of RM410.3mil worth of P1’s medium-term notes that the group had subscribed to.

TM reported a turnover of RM11.72bil and a net profit of RM894.9mil for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2015.

The group has committed to utilising around 25% to 30% of its total annual revenue for capex needs and plans to maintain its benchmark for this year.

This translates to between RM2.93bil and RM3.5bil in capex allocation this year. However, a large part of this will go towards TM’s undersea and subsea cable-laying activities, as well as its current high-speed broadband phase 2 and sub-urban broadband rollout.

Zamzamzairani said that the launching of webe was progressing as scheduled and that it was currently in a testing phase.

“It is being done in a closed user group so we can test the service end-to-end. It is proceeding as planned and we intend to introduce the service in several phases,” he pointed out.

TM has maintained its position as the nation’s broadband champion with its customer base growing to 2.37 million users. According to the group, close to 50% of its flagship UniFi customers are currently on packages of 10 megabytes per second and above.

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