Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maxis-Redtone 4G deal: Is this how the telco players are moving forward?

MAXIS Bhd has signed an infrastructure sharing agreement with REDtone International Bhd, for both parties to offer better high speed wireless broadband services.

This will be done by combining their soon-to-be-awarded 4G spectrum.
Earlier, there are news that the Malaysian government is providing 9 licenses to telcos - in my opinion my order of companies strength - Maxis, Celcom, Digi, YTL Communications, UMobile, Green Packet, Redtone, Syed Mokhtar's linked telco, Asiaspace.

There is no doubt that this deal will be beneficial for both parties as it is mentioned it allows the companies to save costs while at the same time fast tracking their rollout. No other terms are revealed, for example the pricing terms for usage of each others network etc. Hence, we do not know.

My question is that since there are 3 mobile players which are head and shoulders above the rest, would this method be used by Celcom and Digi as well. They would definitely be needing much bigger network than the smaller players. The smaller players on the other hand needs money to even kick start their rollout.

I am sure MCMC's intention in awarding the 4G LTE's license is for the players to end up being operator rather than selling network. They can be operator allright but to make it big from being operator, I am not able to see it beyond Maxis, Celcom and Digi still.

This deal is still beneficial to Redtone though, although at the moment its share price is already quite full. The RM150 million value that the market provides to Redtone is largely on the license which it holds - absolutely bizarre. For a company like Redtone, to be a full fledged operator, I see them raising funds just like what Green Packet and UMobile did. Remember to be an operator, network is just one part of the solution. Devices, billing systems, distribution, customer service, marketing, advertising etc. - you will still need those especially in a retail network.

Let's see where it leads to.


khengsiong said...

News say Maxis and Redtone will share infrastructure, but that may not include combining spectrum. Combining spectrum would imply combining operations, I think...

khengsiong said...

My bad... Just read Hong Leong's research paper. Looks like Maxis will operate the spectrum, while Redtone will become an MVNO.

felicity said...

Thanks Kheng Siong. I do not have so much time to read either. These guys like Hong Leong have more time to follow up.

Anyway, if it is a operator / MVNO relationship I am wondering why give to company like Redtone? Might as well tender out the spectrum like what some countries are doing - at least country is making some income from there. The way we do things sometimes mind-boggles me...