The ‘One’ theme again: 1Malaysia, Unifi, Monopoly

March 26th, 2010 | by Sean |
TM's high-speed internet service

TM's high-speed internet service

TM has announced its new ‘High Speed Broadband’ products, called Unifi, with the Prime Minister making the announcement. TM is Telekom Malaysia, the telecommunications monopoly in Malaysia. There is an alleged telecommunications regulator called the MCMC (Multimed… Commission, or something) but it doesn’t seem to actually do anything but help TM.

More bandwidth ought to be good news, but TM aren’t offering bandwidth, they’re offering an expensive new bundle which includes Video On Demand (VOD). In better regulated regimes, what TM is doing is against the law – it’s the same practice that resulted in Microsoft being forced to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows in the EU. Internet access in the EU is fiercely competitive, which is why you can find 20Mbit/s (TM’s new ‘flagship’ package) connections available in the UK for RM35RM80 per month. That’s in a country where the technicians’ (and customers’!) salaries and business overheads are many, many times that of TM’s!

We had a phone call from TM this morning, offering an upgrade from 512kbit/s to 1Mbit/s for an extra RM5 per month. Before moving to Malaysia, we lived in the UK and had ADSL for about 6 years prior to 2005. After the first two years (starting at 128kbit/s) , BT doubled the bandwidth every year or so FOR FREE. We were on 2Mbit/s when we left, for the equivalent of about RM40 per month, 5 years ago. And it never – ever – had a single problem or slow-down in that time. In the UK we lived in a hill-farming community in a little village of houses which were between 200 and 800 years old. In Malaysia we live in a modern development near a town. Before this year, it was a rare week that we didn’t have trouble (often complete breakdowns for days) with our TM Internet connection.

If you’re not in Malaysia, you might think this kind of thing is a joke. But if you’re in Malaysia and all you want is decent Internet access that works, at a fair price, so you can get more work done (and coincidentally contribute more tax to the government), it is desperately unfunny.

  1. One Response to “The ‘One’ theme again: 1Malaysia, Unifi, Monopoly”

  2. By IHSAN on Mar 26, 2010 | Reply

    One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

    Monopoly is the reason companies can get away with providing crappy service for exorbitant prices.

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