[ASIA] Time Wireless Sdn Bhd, a unit of Time dotCom Bhd became the first local
operator in Malaysia to offer commercial GPRS service this week.
Currently, the service, called TimeCel GPRS is available in Klang Valley, Penang and Prai. It will
be extended to other parts of Malaysia by the middle and end of next year.
At present, there are only 11 operators worldwide that have launched such services.
TimeCel GPRS offers an initial speed of 22 kbps that is comparable to those speeds currently
available worldwide, between 25 to 30 kbps. GPRS is designed to offer mobile Internet a
transmission speed of up to 114 kbps.
“Our target is to capture a sizeable segment of the techno-savvy yuppies who want faster Internet
access and mobility,” said Time dotCom chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.
“We are confident of securing around 150,000 GPRS service subscribers by the end of 2001,”
According to Time Wireless deputy managing director Navaratnam Krishnan, the company
expects to rake in revenue of RM18 million (US $4.7 million) per month based on a 40-hour usage
by 150,000 subscribers.
Krishnan disclosed that the company currently has 645,000 mobile subscribers, of whom 2,000
are WAP users.
TimeCel provides over 200 WAP content sites and with GPRS, the company plans to increase its
content sites to include location-based services, telemetry and other Internet-related services.
Time Wireless will not charge any subscription fee for GPRS, but add a fee of five cents per
minute for the mobile Internet access.
The initial investment on GPRS deployment cost Time Wireless RM20 million
US $5.2 million) for
the core network. The main suppliers of the network equipment are Nokia and Motorola who
provided switches and radio base stations.
However, although the GPRS infrastructure is ready, there are no GPRS handsets in the local
market other than trial sets.
Krishnan said that the handset manufacturers would launch their GPRS sets by the middle of
January next year.
The Minister of Energy, Communications and Multimedia Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said that the
launch of GPRS in the market is a good opportunity to gauge public response to advanced
services that would come with the 3G mobile system.