YTL finally launches Wimax service

YTL Communications has become the fourth and final operator to join Malaysia’s Wimax party, unwrapping its “Yes” branded network on Friday.
YTL plans to spend $800 million (€582 million) on building out the network, which is more than two years behind the August 2008 launch deadline set by regulator MCMC.
Yes includes a fully-interconnected VoIP network, plus 1,500 base stations covering 65% of the population, and several devices including a dongle, a home modem, a Wi-Fi hot spot device and a Wimax handset from Samsung.
“We wanted to build a converged voice and data network, not just Wimax with a voice component, so for us, getting the technology right and the business model right was the most important thing,” said YTL Communications executive director Yeoh Seck Hong when asked about the delay.
The VoIP service is part of an integrated web portal that also offers SMS, email and IM, and the firm has secured interconnect agreements with all local operators to include international connectivity.
“We don’t throttle users, we don’t set data caps, and we don’t lock you into 24-month contracts,” said YTL Communications CEO.
The operator is also claiming data speeds “three to five times faster” than 3G services in Malaysia, although executives declined to specify an actual speed.
Chief executive Wing K. Lee said the firm would deploy another 1,000 base stations to extend network coverage to 80% of the population by the end of 2011, and plans to launch an IPTV service over Wimax using a hybrid video solution from Sezmi by the end of next year.
Company executives declined to comment on whether they plan to stick with Wimax or migrate to rival technology TD-LTE.
Qualcomm struck an agreement with rival Wimax player AsiaSpace last month to explore TD-LTE, and all of the country’s Wimax and cellular operators have reportedly been assigned 20-MHz blocks of 2.6 GHz spectrum for LTE deployments starting in 2013.