4G and the city: P1 launching in Kota Kinabalu

Ever heard of 4G network technology? Neither have I. That is, until I found out about a company here in Malaysia called P1 Networks.

P1 Networks logo

A representative of this 4G Internet provider e-mailed a group of us Sabahan bloggers to attend the launching of their 4G broadband services on the 13th of September, and this caught my attention.

4G? Is that 3G’s brother from another mother?

So here’s what wireless 4G is roughly all about. 4G isn’t exactly siblings with 3G, but rather it’s the child of 3G. Do you like to surf the Web on a 1Mbps connection? 10Mbps? Now, how about a ONE GIGABYTE PER SECOND, i.e. 1,000Mbps Internet connection? That’s how fast a 4G mobile network can offer.

I’m not saying that Packet One Networks offers that much bandwidth, but they should be able to.

And therein lies the problem.

Internet : Fail

Based on my short time working in a telecommmunications company, I found out that the mobile telco infrastructure in my state of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, is very, very much subpar compared to our counterparts in West Malaysia, and I’m willing to bet that is an understatement in itself. The two darlings of mobile telco (and, effectively, mobile broadband) in Sabah are currently Celcom and Digi, and that’s because these two invested EXTENSIVELY in the basic mobile infrastructure for years even across the vast rural areas. Don’t even mention Maxis — their mobile service is virtually non-existent outside of Kota Kinabalu, they’re downright expensive, and they’re a couple of years too late in infrastructure investment.

So do we really need another mobile network player in Sabah?

You’re darned tooting right we do. And P1 is poised to be making loads of money out of it.

Provided, of course, that P1 is ready to invest its RM30 million much more in the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu (say, along a 60-80 km radius off KK city), as most population you find in the city during daytime are actually telecommuters. Marketing their ForHome Internet broadband plans strictly for city dwellers won’t be enough to optimise their reach and enforce their brand. RedTone tried this with their awesome WiMAX service two years ago, yet even now you can go out to the streets and guesstimate that 1 in every 500 person living here will never hear of them even as their banners were strewn all over KK’s busy roads. Most businesses I know are resistant to it, too, because personally the owners don’t use it.

When people don’t use it, they won’t know it. When people know it, they won’t necessarily use it.

Ramblings out of the way, I’m looking forward to attending P1 Network’s Kota Kinabalu Rollout Press Conference next month and see what other goodies they have to offer us. I’ll be sure to discard all the media and marketing hype and go straight to the real deal.

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Posted on 29 August, 2012 under Life in reality and tagged with ,