Saturday, May 28

‘Yes LTE still needs to prove its service quality’

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KUCHING: The team at AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment Bank) believes concerns remain for Yes’ service quality following the launch of its promotional Yes 4G Long Term Evolution-Time Division Duplex (LTE-TD) postpaid plan earlier on.

The package which comes at RM70 per month with its new “Double Data” feature offers 24GB of internet that is split between 16GB for 4G LTE-TD and 8GB for 4G Broadband, which operates on WiMAX.

It also comes with unlimited calls and SMS for usage within the Yes network.

“In our view, Yes’ broadband quota is irrelevant for new subscribers as WiMax is currently being phased out in favour of LTE,” AmInvestment said in a research note.

“Concerns remain on service quality. TDD uses a single frequency band for both transmit and receive, which shares that band by assigning alternating time slots to transmit and receive operations.

“The other LTE standard Frequency Division Duplex (FD), currently employed by celcos Maxis, Celcom, Digiand U-Mobile, requires two symmetrical segments of spectrum for the uplink and downlink channels, which generally need at least twice the spectrum needed by TD.

“While it is debatable whether TD can offer a faster and more cost-efficient standard versus the FD, we understand that this hinges on how efficiently the operator can manage its network system.

“Also, there may also be continued weak indoor coverage given that Yes does not have spectrum in the lower frequency bands, which offer greater coverage and better indoor quality.”

This led AmInvestment Bank to not expect any spike in Yes subscribers in the near term period.

“TDD is fast gaining traction in South Korea and China, but FDD is far more widely implemented globally because of prior frequency spectrum assignments and earlier technologies,” it explained.

“While FDD currently dominates the cellular business, TDD in the longer term may be more widely adopted as spectrum bands are being refarmed with higher cost for operators. Nevertheless, in the near term, we do not expect a sudden surge in new Yes subscriber intake until there is an improvement from the current WiMax user experience.”

The investment arm observed that Yes also has three other postpaid plans – the Postpaid 48 with 10GB of data (6GB 4G LTE+4GB broadband), the Postpaid 128 with 38GB of data (24GB 4G LTE-TD +14GB broadband), and the Postpaid 158 with 48GB of data (32GB 4G LTE-TD +14GB broadband).

Additionally, Yes launched 7 prepaid data packs which includes 1 daily pack (1GB of data for RM5/day), 2 weekly packs (1GB of data for RM10/week and 2GB of data for RM15/week), and 3 monthly packs (RM30/month for 4GB of data, RM48/month for 6GB of data, RM68/month for 10GB of data and RM88/month for 14GB of data).

The starter pack costs RM10 includes 500MB of 4G LTE data and 8GB of broadband internet bundled. Calls are 9 sen/min while SMSs are priced at 9 sen/SMS.

“The sector remains neutral given the ongoing intense mobile competition amid uncertainties from the new spectrum re-pricing structure,” it added.

“We reiterate a buy on Axiata on stronger contributions from overseas businesses, propelled by the value accretive NCELL acquisition in Nepal together with support from domestic roaming arrangement for high speed broadband and backhaul collaboration with TM. Our hold calls for Maxis, Digi and TM are maintained.”