KUALA LUMPUR: After a turbulent 2018, Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) is re-making itself in the way it conducts its business and delivers its products to its customers.
The change in operations and efficiencies has seen a 37% increase in sales of unifi services for January 2019 versus the same period in 2018, and all these efforts are expected to culminate in the improvement of its bottom line.
TM has been under tremendous pressure after wholesale access and retail broadband packages were revised downwards last year, putting a dent on its margins and revenue.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission in its review of the telecoms sector has given good grades to all telcos except TM’s Streamyx service, and this is a point that surely will not be lost on TM’s management as it embarks on a reboot of its operations.
TM acting CEO Imri Mokhtar has called the change at TM the “start of a new dawn.”
Yesterday, the giant telco shared its plan for 2019 by launching #khabarbaik, a movement which it intends to use to bring more good news to Malaysians nationwide be it in terms of product, service or pricing, and at the same time, using it to uplift its 24,000 employees to embrace the change so that the telco can get the desired results it is aiming for.
“We need to change the way we work on a day-to-day basis. As 2018 was an environment that (was tough), we are trying to move forward from that situation,” said unifi acting executive vice-president Moharmustaqeem Mohammed.
“We have set the (targets) and we want to chase those numbers,” he said without elaborating.
TM’s share price has been on a downtrend from the beginning of the year and continued to fall after the mandatory standard access pricing or MSAP for wholesale access was implemented. TM provides access on its high-speed broadband (HSBB) network and any drop in access pricing affects its bottom line.
TM also faced pressure when the government pushed for lower-priced broadband packages and higher speeds. Any drop in package prices would simply mean lesser average revenue per user, even though it would mean that more people can now afford the packages.
TM’s share price fell to a low of RM2.11 last year but has since gained some ground. Yesterday, it rose to a day’s high of RM2.90 before closing lower at RM2.77 a share.
“Last year was a challenging year for TM, more so with the regulator’s vision to double the speed at half the price for fast broadband. This could have put pressure on it to improve, although its move to change could have been the brainchild of the acting CEO Imri, or even a plan hatched before him. But any improvement in efficiencies and the way it works can only help customers and their business,” said an industry executive.
Another executive added that “how this makeover will translate to better bottom lines would depend on how aggressive the new TM would be, and how fast it serves its customers and amasses a wider market share”.
Moharmustaqeem is talking about changing procedures, business rules and ways, the product and putting the right person for the job.
TM will explore alternative technologies to push for HSBB access for people in areas where it does not serve now, and will even opt to ride on other operators’ network to expand its reach. It also will continue its efforts to upgrade services for Streamyx customers in non-unifi areas. In Jasin in Malacca, TM is riding on Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s fibre and pole access to reach out to potential users.
Moharmustaqeem has made it clear that new orders for unifi services will be delivered within 24 hours and problems will be tracked to ensure they are resolved the soonest. He also intends to open TMPoint outlets on Saturday and Sunday for customers’ easy access.
Yesterday, unifi also launched its revised offering for unifi mobile with various packages starting from RM19 onwards, and as part of the Chinese New Year promotion, TM is offering dimsum video streaming free for the first three months.
“By introducing simpler and more affordable plans, were are making Internet connectivity more accessible to all citizens,” he added.