For Maxis Bhd (Maxis), the group views East Malaysia as an important region to its growth strategy, having expanded its presence through investments in network and touchpoints to cater to the evolving digital lifestyles of everyone.
“Maxis has an ambition to be Malaysia’s leading converged solutions and digital services company, and is committed to serving its Sarawak and Sabah customers with the best in mobile and fixed connectivity solutions for both homes and businesses,” chief executive officer Gokhan Ogut highlighted in his key message in reply to BizHive Weekly’s queries.
“Maxis is committed to helping Sarawak accelerate its digital economy agenda especially in anchor sectors like agriculture and manufacturing through its leadership and strong focus in new technologies like 5G and internet of things (IoT).”
Ogut observed that Sarawak is no stranger to hi-tech and has bold ambitions to develop its digital economy.
“We witnessed this at the recent IDECS 2019, where Maxis showcased the amazing potential of 5G and IoT especially for businesses for the first time ever in East Malaysia after Putrajaya in April this year.
“We demonstrated speeds of 1Gbps on commercially available handsets to all our visitors in this live 5G demo showcase. We look forward to delivering the best 5G innovation for both consumers and businesses in Sarawak for the future.”
Ogut opined that there is immense amount of opportunities in IoT technology especially around big data analytics and in enabling real life use cases.
“Smart cities and smart malls propositions are just some of the initiatives that will be relevant to Sarawak to help them achieve their digital transformation agenda.”
He further highlighted that to accelerate adoption, Maxis set up its IoT Innovation Lab in 2018 to act as a bridge between Maxis’ Enterprise customers and device manufacturers as well as solutions providers.
“Here, a free testing facility helps Enterprise solutions providers to go to market quicker and for customers to validate their solutions before deployment in the field.
“Some of the tests that we are doing include agriculture soil and water measurement sensors, smart utilities (water and electric) sensors, vehicle tracking sensors, smart parking sensor and smoke detection sensor.”
In reply to how Maxis is helping Sarawak to accelerate its journey to develop the digital economy of the state, Ogut said that an important area the group is assisting in is fibre connectivity.
He recapped that in August 2018, Maxis led the market in new affordable fibre offerings and aggressively pursued new access agreements to broaden the group’s coverage across Malaysia.
“We then shook the market with our Fibrenation campaign, with broadband packages up to 65 per cent cheaper than the packages we previously offered.
“Then in April this year, we elevated the fibre broadband experience with new superfast Internet speeds and a better WiFi experience.”
Maxis was the first operator in Malaysia to offer a full combination of both fixed and mobile technologies for consumers and enterprises.
“While we continue to grow and lead the market in mobile, we are beginning to see increasing demand for our fibre services. Fibre access and plans are critical first steps into Malaysian homes and businesses.”
Big ambitions for Enterprise business
According to Ogut, Maxis has big ambitions for Enterprise, and the group’s commitment is to aggressively grow in the converged services market and be a technology and solutions partner for businesses in Malaysia as well as government.
“Our approach is simple – to turn complexity into simplicity, allowing businesses to reach their full potential with the use of technology, unlocking new possibilities and opportunities for them across many industries.
He went on to explain that what sets Maxis apart from others are the group’s converged offerings of innovative solutions that are built around an “Always On” proposition.
“For businesses of all sizes across key segments including retail, logistics, food and beverage (F&B), manufacturing and government, our goal is to help them succeed by simplifying and improving the way they work through our end-to-end solutions – from mobile and fixed connectivity to managed services, eCommerce and IoT – backed by our industry-leading 4G network that ensures an unrestricted and worry-free experience which can be enjoyed ‘as a service’.
“We see convergence as a huge opportunity in Sarawak, and we are in a very good position to provide converged access in voice and data and what our customers need – seamless connectivity, ‘Always On’ service, reliable 24/7 connection on the best network in the country and accessibility of any devices.”
Apart from fibre connectivity, Maxis has a strong focus on new technologies, in particular IoT in which there are exciting opportunities across corporate as well as government.
“We see a huge market opportunity in Sarawak for these types of solutions, so we want to grow our Enterprise business exponentially by offering differentiated and customised solutions appropriate to each Enterprise segment in the State as they digitally enable their operations. We have also set aside significant investments in these areas which support our Enterprise strategy and national fibre agenda.”
Reaching out to rural communities via eKelas
Other ways in which Maxis is supporting Sarawak’s digital economy journey is via education, particularly in rural communities.
“With education being at heart of our community efforts, we have also been reaching out to the rural communities through our flagship community outreach programme, eKelas,” Ogut explained.
“eKelas is an after-school digital learning initiative that aims to improve the academic performance of students in rural communities across the country. It is currently being delivered at 72 Pusat Internet located across 10 states in Malaysia, with over 10,000 students connecting through the programme via the eKelas portal.”
Ogut noted that the programme is made possible by Maxis’ partnership with Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission, as it is run at their Pusat Internet which serve as digital hubs for communities in underserved areas.
“In Sarawak alone, there are 21 Pusat Internet located in Kuching, Miri and Sibu, where students have access to eKelas. We are seeing enthusiastic response from the communities here.
“We witnessed this enthusiasm firsthand at one community at Pusat Internet Kampung Taee, Serian, Kuching, where the eKelas students here are some of the most engaged and participative in the programme.
He further noted that apart from clinching the first and second place for the overall Form Two students in the eKelas English Drama competition, students from Kg Taee also won the festive decoration contest and last year, while eight students from here qualified for the eKelas Holiday Camp held in Kuala Lumpur last year.
“Kg Taee is a good example of how a community comes together to embrace technology and benefit from it.”
Aside from this initiative, Maxis has also engaged local businesses from cottage industries in these rural communities to assist them in leveraging technology to increase their productivity and open up opportunities.
“At the end of last year, our Maxis volunteers conducted digital literacy workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs of the Kg Quop community through digital marketing workshops, where they learnt how to optimise their business using social media, content creation and photography.”