By Sun Zuocong
The year 2010 was an eventful year indeed for Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) as it successfully launched triple-play bundled high-speed broadband (HSBB) services for both its residential and business customers under the UniFi brand. UniFi offers digital voice, high-speed Internet access of up to 20Mbps, and also Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services, branded as HyppTV.
“For homes and businesses ready to embrace an enhanced, integrated digital lifestyle, UniFi is definitely for them as it delivers a faster, richer and more reliable online experience that opens up a whole new world of rich digital content, applications and services,” said Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, Group Chief Executive Officer, TM.
TM’s UniFi customer base has recently surpassed the 340,000 mark and TM continues to work closely with partners such as Huawei to launch new services to transform and enhance users’ digital lifestyle at home and on the go.
Seizing broadband & TV opportunities through HSBB
Through a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with the government of Malaysia and with a project value of about MYR11.3 billion (USD3.8 billion), it is believed that the High Speed Broadband Project (HSBB) will boost the country’s national gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.6%, while creating approximately 100,000 jobs by the year 2017. UniFi, TM’s HSBB service brand, is currently available at 81 exchange areas with more than 1.198 million premises passed to date, with these numbers expected to reach 98 and 1.3 million, respectively, by the end of 2012.
“This year marks the second birthday of UniFi and we are excited that the service has reached more than 340,000 customers nationwide. This achievement augurs well for TM and in line with the Company’s transformation from a Voice Exchange into an Information Exchange. We are indeed very grateful to our customers for their continued trust in us in delivering an enhanced and integrated digital lifestyle to their homes,” the group CEO added.
IPTV proved to be the ideal differentiator, and ultimately the game changer for service expansion. After researching the global IPTV industry, and the needs of its own home users, TM decided to officially launch its IPTV service, known as HyppTV, bundled together with UniFi.
TM’s IPTV strategy is to offer pristine video quality, as opposed to the blockiness and other compression related issues that often accompany HDTV viewing, enabling a true HD experience. Bandwidth efficiency is also top priority so that HD channel availability is ensured for all UniFi users. TM deployed an innovative, best in class, tightly managed & integrated IPTV service delivery platform, while offering home network appliances that differentiate its services.
In its effort to ensure the successful implementation of HyppTV, TM has set high benchmarks for its IPTV equipment vendor, which demand extensive experience and the ability to deliver IPTV service within just three months. The vendor must also have a strong experience-over-time track record (the ability to provide end-to-end solutions, planning, operations, training, and transfer services). Last but not least, quality must be ensured so that TM’s IPTV is clearly differentiated from what local satellite competitors offer.
Huawei was selected as TM’s IPTV project partner after going through a stringent technology and service assessment, involving several well-known candidates, that drew upon the vendor’s wealth of experience with nearly 40 IPTV commercialization projects worldwide. Huawei would assist TM in organizing, processing, networking, while providing operational and maintenance services for the project. One solution for compressing time was to pre-program and test the IPTV platform and terminals (such as the operating system and disk array mounting) prior to shipment. A key feature for TM’s IPTV platform is the Media Quality Management Center, which facilitates automatic service installation & upgrade and visual modification & enablement of system configuration files so that problems can be quickly identified and resolved remotely.
TM would also deploy interactive services such as Video-on-Demand (VOD), Time-shifted TV (TSTV), Transactional Video-on-Demand (TVOD), Near Video-on-Demand (NVOD), and Personal Video Recording (PVR), as well as value-added service solutions such as news, weather forecast, gaming, YouTube and Facebook, to name a few, thereby setting a high benchmark for the pay TV marketplace in Malaysia. The service platform can also support future digital and connected home solutions such as over-the-top (OTT) content, multiscreen video, and home networking.
TM also deployed the world’s first commercial Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) version 3 network, based on HSBB. This advanced technology helps Telekom Malaysia to optimize its network operations and management, while providing seamless multi-layer, multi-vendor management.
Having fully committed to TM’s success in HSBB, Huawei did indeed deliver its solution within two months, fulfilling TM’s strict requirements in terms of KPI and QoS. Huawei’s network assessment, optimization, and proactive operation maintenance efforts will continue to optimize the bearer network in terms of quality and operation maintenance efficiency.
Extending the value of HSBB
According to Jeremy Kung, Executive Vice President, New Media, TM, HyppTV has opened a lot of eyes in Malaysia. “Today we have incumbents who provide their services via satellite, and there would be times when services are not available due to Malaysia’s unique weather conditions. It happens so often that, when it rains, people just switch off the television, because they don’t expect a service. TM has come in and changed that perception. We believe that if the service is available, it must be available all the time. Secondly, we have refreshed the quality for our subscribers. By leveraging HSBB, we have dedicated 8Mbps of the bandwidth exclusively to IPTV service, so HD, 3D, and VOD, and the capacity are no longer an issue. Today, HyppTV offers customers 88 channels with 12 HD channels consisting of 19 free channels, 34 premium channels, 17 VOD genres and 18 interactive channels featuring YouTube, Facebook, and games.”
“In addition, we are always looking forward to acquiring new content that we believe will entice TV viewers to HyppTV. This is keeping in line with our strategy for viewers to be allowed flexibility to view their choice of content when they want. Our focus on VOD and interactivity means that we can offer viewers a lot more choice in content without necessarily forking out the RM (money) required for a multichannel-only service,” he added later.
Huawei strengthened its partnership with TM through the Customer Business Partner (CBP) program officially kicked off in November 2011. The CBP program aims to help position TM as the leading ICT provider through HSBB and to collaborate with Huawei to deliver future innovative services to stand out from its competitors and deliver a superior experience to its customers.