unifi mobile – one more for consideration

Launch of the brand new unifi and TV by TM. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star.

Launch of the brand new unifi and TV by TM. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star.

TELEKOM Malaysia Bhd (TM) has finally settled on one brand, unifi, and its refreshed look.

The “U and F’ in unifi are no longer in capital letters.

Its TV business is now called unifi TV instead of Hypp TV. Its mobile brand, webe, changed to unifi mobile. It also has unifi broadband and wifi, all under the unifi branding and no longer being hype or webe wobbly but a single brand approach, refreshed and ready to take on the competition, especially in the TV and mobile sectors.

Trust Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly (pic), the group CEO of TM, to come up with the idea of a single brand concept, given his strength in branding and marketing.

It would seem that TM has finally got its act together in the mobile scene, and while it is ambitious about disrupting the market place, the other players are not about to let it eat the cake alone. A tough fight awaits.

The country had over 34.1 million mobile subscribers as at end-August, with Maxis Bhd holding the biggest share, followed by Digi.Com Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd. U Mobile is known as the disrupter in the market place. Can unifi take over?

Once upon a time, TM used to own Celcom, but under a separation plan the latter is part of Axiata Group.

For years, TM has been focusing on its high-speed broadband, entertainment and wifi offerings, but realised that it needs to get back into the mobility business to complete its missing link.

A few years ago, it bought over P1 from Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd and renamed it “webe”.

It has been offering unlimited access for RM75 a month, but despite that, webe did not make the impact TM would have been happy with.

With the move towards convergence and digitalisation, TM changed its strategy and now offers a complete suite of services for home, wifi, TV and mobility, similar to what some of the major players in the industry are offering.

What makes TM’s offering different from the rest?

TM is calling its new proposition, hybrid, not prepaid or postpaid.

Prepaid is what you pay up-front for the access you need, while postpaid is based on the amount you agree to pay at the end of the month for usage.

For unifi’s hybrid, there is no expiry date and that is why it is a “total freedom” plan. It believes this is not just a mobile play but a total convergence play.

Your calls, SMS, data and credit will be there as long as you are an active user. Just buy an add-on or perform a top-up within 90 days of your last purchase to keep active. It has an app to allow for easy use, especially topping-up.

To give it a push, it is offering one million free SIMs with 20G of data. One day after the launch, it claimed to have got five times more users than what a player would get in a day.

That is encouraging, but it is just another plan in the market place for consideration which also allows for number porting. As always, it is a matter of time when competition catches up and TM will need to dangle more carrots to keep the users excited.

The crux of the matter is, all this bodes well for the industry, but can TM recoup its investments into the mobile sector sooner, and in the course of all this, will broadband prices come down with this added competition?