Today, we will talk about Myanmar Speednet. Another new ISP in town eyeing to convert the growing mobile internet base to fixed broadband. Could that be the one? Let’s find out.
Despite a crowded landscape, it seems that nothing really discourages new Internet Service Providers to taking a shot in Myanmar market.
To launch an ISP in Myanmar, the minimum is to run a Facebook page. Every ISP has one and some of them do not even bother to run a website. However, Myanmar Speednet has both Facebook page and Website. The page itself has a very low amount of likes (1,276 likes vs 587,530 for MyanmarNet) and would definitely need to spend a few dollars on Facebook ads to increase awareness.
When it comes to the website, the first impression is not great. Moving from the first page, the url changes to a strange http://mmspeednet.com/ that does not look very professional. The look and feel is not up to a corporate company website.
The logo is also misleading with the wireless sign that looks odd for a FTTx company.
Marketing-wise, we cannot say that Myanmar Speednet impress.
Besides that, all the information are there, price plans, service coverage, contact details, company profile. The content is detailed and everything is explained clearly. What would be probably missing is the time for installation: 3 to 7 days according to the service center.
Looking at the service plans in details, it is truly disappointing. Consumer price plans are expensive, comparable to Elite or Yatanarpon Teleport. There is nothing on paper that really draw attention and would differentiate Speednet from the competition.
Taking as example the 2Mbps consumer plan, Myanmar Speednet is among the least affordable plans in the market.
Obviously, service performance shall be taken into account and if Speednet offers great Internet service, there is no doubt the new ISP could be successful as none of the competitors has really shined on that matter.
But it will take months and even years to build certainty. Every ISP deliver great performance at launch which is easy as the network is empty. Still if Speednet manages to keep a fast and reliable service over time, the marketing material will have to be much improved to translate this image of robust high-end broadband provider.
It is really puzzling to see new ISPs popping up with barely nothing new to bring to the table.
What is the angle there? How are they going to gain market share? There is so much to do around the dumb Internet pipe and no one seems to really grasp the opportunity. It is not really question of innovation but to copy paste existing successful concepts from other markets. Just taking a look at the ISP websites in Singapore and Thailand prove how rich the ISP portfolio can be for those willing to develop it.
Voice, TV, VOD, Parental control are some of the value added services that would really make a difference for a new ISP in Myanmar. No one in the market is doing it. Everybody is selling a dumb pipe.
Only ISP with a key differentiator is Myanmarnet with its agile Wi-Fi hotspot system that support mobility enabling customers to connect everywhere there is coverage. That is a small differentiator but it makes a huge difference when it comes to the ISP popularity and customer base. It is not hard to see that an ISP that would launch with a decent triple play offer at reasonable price will immediately make a hit.
So the key question is:
Can Myanmar Speednet really move the needle when it comes to broadband in Myanmar?
As for the coverage, Speednet is only available in Kyauktada Township for now and Pabedan Township by end of the month. More townships will follow according to the service center.
It is a bold move for an ISP to choose downtown area for a launch. The location is the fiefdom of Myanmarnet which is extremely popular thanks to a very dense Wifi network. Considering the price difference between the two ISPs, it will be extremely challenging for Myanmar Speednet to gain market share.
Furthermore, Myanmar Speednet will cost you 250$ of initial setup which is aligned with its FTTx competitors but still represent a high barrier to entry for most customers. As a comparison, MyanmarNet charges 47,000Ks for initial setup fee. We don’t argue that this is a different technology and then different cost to deploy. Still, it will be hard to compete.
Note that a promotion is ongoing with an average 25% rebate on monthly fees until 15th of September 2017. Waiving or at least reducing the installation fees would have been a good move to get customer on-board and raise awareness.
In conclusion, the least we can say is that we are not impressed with Myanmar Speednet launch. It looks like just another ISP that do not bring anything new on the table, mimic the competition plan with no key differentiator. Unfortunately, we do not foresee any significant intake for Speednet over the next few months with these plans and this particular coverage. If the service is good and steady, customers will come and stay but it will take some time for the ISP to gain traction. If the support is responsive and friendly, the customers will definitely stick around. That is all the best we can hope for this new addition to the long list of ISPs in Yangon.
Saying that, Telenor is trialing FTTH in different part of town. Considering the mobile operator strong awareness / consideration and its aggressive pricing, it is very hard to see how ISPs like Myanmar Speednet will be sustainable if they don’t adopt anytime soon a disruptive strategy when it comes to broadband in Myanmar.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.