The Internet landscape in Malaysia has long been dominated by our national telco, TM but in recent years, competition has picked up with more players emerging on the field. Aside from the 3G spectrum that is dished out by our regular mobile companies, a 2.3GHz WiMax spectrum was awarded to 4 non-Telco companies in 2006, Bizsurf (YTL), Packet One Networks (P1), Asiaspace Dotcom (Amax) and Redtone (REDtone WiMAX).
Four years on, I received the invite to attend the prestigious launch of Yes 4G, the much talked about offering by YTL Communications that costs RM2.5 billion! Being in the technology industry, I attended to keep abreast of what was going on, and also meet some of my industry brethren. In a nutshell, here is a slideshow of the launch.
Driving to the Marriott, buildings were clad in large banners, streets were dressed up and it seemed the air was thick with impending excitement on what would be launched.
As I arrived at the ballroom, it was packed beyond packed! It was obvious, many were there to seek for better Internet connectivity. The backdrop for the event was a panaromic LED screen and it was pretty awesome. Yasmin Yussuf hosted the event and began with a video conference to UK where our Malaysian ambassador was, with some Malaysian students. Video quality was clear, and so was voice – this garnered the rousing approval from everyone.
Speeches were kept to a minimal with Tan Sri Francis Yeoh (MD, YTL Corporation), Dato’ Seri Utama Rais Yatim (Minister of Information, Communications, and Culture) and Wing K. Lee (CEO, YTL Communications). Both Tan Sri Francis and Wing are extremely good presenters, rousing applause upon applause from the audience.
Watch the actual launch on video here.
We then proceeded to a demo of the service, where Malaysians in UK made a phone call from a regular mobile phone to the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister. Call quality was pretty poor, much like Skype on a bad day, but the video was fine. I hope they beef up the systems before they launch multi-party voice and video calls in December. Wing Lee announced that multi-party up to four streams for video and six for voice would be available.
Rates for Yes 4G are straightforward. There is a minimum monthly usage value of RM30 imposed, but no contracts to bind you to. Yes prides itself as charging merely for what you use – don’t pay a flat rate for data that you will not use anyway.
9 cents accords you:
1 minute for a voice call
3 mb of data transfer
On top of that, there are rebates that can be enjoyed for data usage too.
For using 2.5GB, you will get a rebate of RM9.
For using 3GB, you will get a rebate of RM23.
For using more than 4GB, you will get a rebate of 30%.
Here are the men (yes, no women!) behind-the-scenes who made all the audio-visual wizardry come to life. It’s a massive team!
At the end of the launch, we then took a walk to the new Lot 10 Yes flagship store, where it embodied an open concept, much like an Apple Store. Once again, there were swarms of people trying out the various gadgets and doing speed tests. (Can you spot our full-time Malaysian blogger LiewCF in the photo below?)
Huge digital panels were everywhere! This really is the future. The screen below is supposedly an interactive screen, where you are able to touch it and play with the display – however, no one was touching it, perhaps they didn’t know it was for play.
Interestingly, there were throngs of early adopters in queue who were pledging their dollars for devices.
By the time I left, it was dusk, but it gave me the chance to catch the “Yes cube” that sits on the Bintang Walkway.
There was so much hype about the service, and traffic must have surged to their servers. The yes.my website has been down intermittently till now.
My take on their service is that it’s a good alternative to mobile Internet, but for those who download a lot, stick with TM Streamyx or Unifi (even Wing Lee unashamedly said this during a soft launch preview I had). As of now, switching to a 018 mobile number and using it for voice is probably going to be less than satisfactory. YTL still has 1,000 base stations to launch, and it will definitely improve the service when done. To all those ranting away, cut them some slack – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither does anything revolutionary.
Want to watch their feel-good 1Malaysia type promo video?