YTL sees good demand for WiMAX service

The Star Online, November 17, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd is seeing “dramatic” demand for its WiMAX service in Malaysia, with pre-registrations for the product exceeding expectations three times, said executive chairman Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.

Yeoh declined to give a specific target for the “Yes” wireless Internet and voice service, which allows users to pick an identification and number. The company is the telecommunications unit of YTL Power International Bhd.

“I would expect that the uptake of this service, when people get the hang of it, will be tremendous,” Yeoh said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “When people have tasted mobile Internet, they'll never go back to mobile phone; same as when people have tasted colour television, they'll never go back to black-and-white.”

YTL's broadband service is as much as five times faster than the already available third generation, or 3G, network, according to Yeoh. This would enable businesses to be more effective and productive, in line with the government's plans to turn Malaysia into a high income nation, he said.

The company plans to spend RM2.5bil to roll out the service to reach more than 65% of the country's population when it starts Nov 19, the company said in a statement. It will reach more than 80% by the second quarter of 2011.

YTL Power has advanced 8.2% in the past month, making it Malaysia's best performing stock, ahead of thebenchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index's 0.9% gain.

The utility's “shares have recently surged on news that the pre-launch response to its WiMAX service has been above management's internal targets,” Alex Goh, an analyst at AmResearch, said in a report yesterday. “But note that this is not confirmed registration or fee-paying subscribers as the current Internet bookings allow potential customers to choose their own numbers.”

The company is working with partners including Clearwater Corp, Intel Corp, Cisco Systems Inc and International Business Machines Corp to roll out the service, which will be “competitively” priced against present broadband access providers, according to Yeoh.

The “Yes” service charges the consumer what they use, much like electricity, the company said on its website. The rates will be revealed on Nov 19.