Interview: Zam Isa

How will the measures outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) address the country’s shortfall in communications infrastructure?

ZAM ISA: The government has announced that the roll out of high-speed broadband (HSBB) under the 10MP will continue in its second phase under the 11MP. TM recently signed two public-private partnership (PPP) agreements with the government of Malaysia for the implementation of both HSBB 2 and suburban broadband (SUBB) projects. HSBB 2 and SUBB projects will expand the coverage area to state capitals and residential areas. HSBB 2 consists mainly of fibre, and via SUBB, TM can now provide streaming of up to 8 Mbps, allowing us to provide triple-play services even on a copper-based infrastructure. In East Malaysia, the Trans-Borneo Highway provides us opportunities to spur off from the main backbone into local towns along the highway. This will be a catalyst for the development of Sabah and Sarawak.

What benefits will customers be able to see from encouraging convergence between information and communications technology?

ISA: Convergence is not only a matter of technology, but also about ensuring a seamless customer experience anywhere and everywhere. Until recently, our customers only used our services in either their homes or offices. Following this, we expanded our Wi-Fi hotspots, bridging the gap between these two domains. We are currently executing our plans to develop the ecosystem for convergence by leveraging on our assets and capabilities throughout the service delivery chain.

What opportunities can be pursued in “smart city” solutions and the internet of things (IoT)?

ISA: We believe there is great potential in the IoT trends. We are currently pursuing the smart city concept via the establishment of a carrier-neutral Nusajaya Data Centre, which will serve as a regional hub in providing end-to-end managed ICT, business process outsourcing, cloud services via the digital marketplace, HSBB connectivity, the provision of ICT infrastructure and services, and the development of smart city services. This last effort will involve safety and security services by tapping into the real estate vertical in Nusajaya through our partnerships with UEM Sunrise and Iskandar Investment.

How will ACASIA Communications increase the ease of doing business for telecoms companies across the ASEAN region?

ISA: ACASIA is a collaboration between seven major telecoms companies within ASEAN. Its network spans throughout the region, making intra-ASEAN connectivity widely available. We relaunched ACASIA at the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2015, and plan to capitalise on the regional infrastructure that is already in place. ACASIA’s core product offering, ASEAN Regional Connectivity (ARC) is a testament to ACASIA’s desire to make it easier for businesses and communities to get connected. ARC adopts a do-it-yourself concept, making it easy for customers to mix and match ARC with multiple vendors and multiple-access technologies. Another key ACASIA initiative is the ASEAN Market Place, a community portal that gives ASEAN small and medium-sized enterprises the ability to access information, identify opportunities, transact business, subscribe to cloud services and apply financial packages.

With this, cloud connectivity in ACASIA will see a smoother implementation of commerce activities. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular will benefit from the ability to penetrate a significantly more integrated ASEAN telecoms market.