DiGi Telecommunications, Malaysia: “Caps, quotas and throttling are crucial to ensure data profitability”

Praveen Rajan, Head of Internet & Services, DiGi Telecommunications, Malaysia

Praveen Rajan, Head of Internet & Services, DiGi Telecommunications, Malaysia is speaking as part of the Emerging Market Experience Exchange the day before the Broadband ip&TV Asia 2012 conference, 15th-16th May 2012, KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. catches up with him to see what the major concerns and issues are for this local operator.

What major developments have there been for the broadband industry in your region over the past year?

The region is noted for aggressive competition, especially from new 3G players and WiMAX operators. We have pioneered selling 3G broadband as a complementary service to fixed broadband services. The market is also beginning to see voice plans with bundled data quotas. For us a major development will be the introduction of LTE. Smartphone usage is rising fast, and there is more demand for wider 3G coverage. We currently offer HSPA and EDGE nationwide and will be moving towards LTE in the near future.

Speed is often touted as a priority, but some view the major challenge to be coverage and network capacity. What is your view?

Speed is secondary to consistency of the network. Coverage, capacity and consistency are key pillars to a great user experience. Most customers, especially on smartphones, do not realise the speeds they are getting, and it is difficult to tell the difference at a certain threshold. For example, moving from 3Mbps to 7Mbps may not show real improvements in web and email usage.

Is FTTH really necessary for businesses and consumers and what are the stumbling blocks to rolling it out?

Personally, I believe that FTTH will continue to be relevant as a primary broadband service in key market centres. Operators that choose to do this need to be fully aware of the cost dynamics and expectations from customers. However, we are focused on the wireless business and not FTTH.

To what extent can fixed wireless connections help in the roll out of broadband connectivity?

Fixed wireless is seen as a primary way of getting connected for most households in Malaysia. The technology is able to manage throughput and capacity better than conventional wireless. Mobile broadband will continue to be relevant with the rise of new devices such as smartphones and tablets. There will be some parts of Malaysia that may rely on wireless broadband using USB modems as a primary way to get connected to the internet.

What is your stance on bandwidth caps, line throttling and traffic management?

Caps, quotas, throttling and traffic management are crucial today to ensure data profitability. These should be communicated up front to customers, and we should move away from communicating “unlimited” plans.

What are the biggest challenges you expect to face over the next 12 months?

The biggest challenges will be balancing value propositions between 3G and LTE, and meeting customer expectations on speed and performance.

Why is your attendance at this event so important for you and your company and what aspect are you looking forward to most?

Data is a big focus for most operators so we are looking to learn from other operators through case studies of product and network rollouts.

The Broadband ip&TV Asia 2012 conference is taking place on the 15th-16th May 2012, KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Go to the website now to register your interest.

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