Friday, August 29, 2008

Mobile Number Portability and WiMax

At long last, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is now available on a limited basis commencing today, 29 August 2008, as announced here.

Until mid-September 2008, pre-paid mobile phone users in Klang Valley may change their mobile phone service providers, if they wish, and still keep their mobile phone numbers. Later, post-paid users will also enjoy the service.

Nationwide roll-out is expected in October 2008.

MNP will surely increase the competition between the telcos i.e. Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U-Mobile. Consumers may end up as winners as these mobile phone service providers will have to reduce their pricing and make their packages really attractive.

I have been using my number since Maxis launched its services in mid-1990s. I thought that their level of services has somehow deteriorated after the company was privatised (i.e. no longer listed on the stock exchange), and with the resignation of Datuk Jamal.

I am thinking of changing to Celcom. If they can get their act together and market their Celcom 3G mobile broadband together with Streamyx and Telekom fixed line, they will be my choice.

But, as usual, I would rather wait until the dusts settle. Changing the service provider while maintaining your existing phone number seems to be a good proposition. But somehow or rather, I think there will be hiccups. That’s why only 100 requests will be entertained per day during the initial period.

The other thing that I am actually eagerly waiting for is the WiMax services. I think WiMax would be a more credible mobile broadband platform in terms of mobility, stability in services and rate of data transfers. However, since WiMax licensees in Malaysia are relative smaller telco players, I think they will be taken over by the bigger boys in years to come. Malaysia had given 2.5GHz spectrum licenses much earlier but the government had decided to abort the roll-out. If not for Lim Keng Yeak, the then-Minister in charge of telco, WiMax would have been thriving in Malaysia, via 2.5GHz spectrum.

In the USA, 2.5GHz WiMax is currently the biggest segment assigned. And they are still struggling to get consensus on the 2.3GHz protocol standard. Selection of protocol standard will have an effect on Malaysia’s WiMax operators as US would be the biggest market for WiMax equipment, and thus eventually affect the cost of WiMax in Malaysia.

Technology keeps changing at an incredibly fast pace. May be in the near future, with WiMax or other technology platform, voice transfers will be free of charge. With the availability of mobile broadband, consumers will be charged based on data transfers. Skype-liked devices will be used for telephone conversation as well as email and text messaging.

1 comment:

Jasonmumbles said...

Eh, not fair lah! You tagged Maxis and Celcom but not Digi. Haha!

Yes, many people has expressed their bad customer service and support they received from Maxis. Also, Maxis is getting very stingy on the rewards and more fine prints for you to ignore while they quietly charge you without you knowing until you raise the matter up with them.

On the other hand, Digi is catching up very quickly by targeting the younger generation instead of the old timers or corporate users. 50% air time reward when you reload on your birthday, cheaper call rates, many (if not, shit loads) of rewards and savings every now and then, these are the things that attract the more cost-saving minded younger generation these days.

As for Celcom, I find it a little difficult to "swallow" as they are under TM and we all know how TM operates. Besides, why would I use Celcom when almost estimated 90% of the people in my phone book are using Maxis or Digi.

Anyway, we, the consumers, are the biggest winner at the end of the day when MNP goes nationwide next month.