SpectrumLife Net Core was one of the new kids on the block in 2016. At that time, Net Core among other wireless ISPs were reshaping the broadband market in Myanmar thanks to agressive pricing and a disruptive sale strategy through social networks.
The euphoria did not last for long and it was soon time for a good hangover. NetCore face critics, the fault to a customer service a bit rude, not really supportive, more likely overwhelmed with queries. It was also time to take on the challenge of building broadband on unlicensed spectrum. With such a sensitive and delicate technology, better be conservative when it comes to radio planning. NetCore was reckless, pushing the technology to its limits for the sake of acquiring new customers. Beginner mistake? Certainly. Forgivable? Bad press is hard to uproot. Even if you disable the reviews on your Facebook page.
A few months passed, Yatanarpon has gone through a complete face-lift. Myanmar Speednet is born with a pricelist that once revamped certainly draw attention. MyanmarNet keeps growing steadily its subscriber base thanks to massive investment (and more to come).
Act of desperation or genius move?
It was time to do something or join the rank of the anonymous. The zombie league of service providers, countless companies that leave in the shade, grab a customer here and then to sustain a questionable business plan.
So NetCore releases the big guns. 30,000 Ks for 2mbps! Unlimited! Can you imagine? Is that for real? Are we still in Myanmar?
Installation fees? As low as 60,000 Ks! Not MyanmarNet cheap yet but still, cheap. Plus, the wireless ISP promises to install within two weeks. Yes two weeks!
Is there a catch? There is. 60,000 Ks is only for installation. You would need to pay in addition 60,000 Ks for the router and configuration fees which bring the total to 120,000 Ks. Suddenly it does not sound like a great deal knowing this is the current price to pay for a fiber installation with Yatanarpon Teleport or Myanmar Speednet.
Still, Net Core new pricing is going to make some noise on the market. Is this the dawn of a price war? More likely.
So what are the chances of success for NetCore?
Coming back to the technology itself, NetCore uses a Wifi point to multipoint system in unlicensed spectrum. This setup presents the advantage of being extremely cheap and easy to install. It also has some drawbacks: it does not scale well and is subject to interference. This price drop seems an extremely risky business for NetCore if the Myanmar ISP is not capable to rapidly scale to keep a good quality of experience across its wireless network.
A viable strategy for the WISP would be to plan a FTTx deployment and migrate progressively its customers, releasing capacity to sustain its acquisition rate.
Mission impossible? It is all about planning and deploying at the right pace. Lets see if NetCore will be able to manage that.
In summary, the price war is launched and we need to thank MyanmarNet, NetCore and Telenor for that. Telenor Broadband has finally made its prices public which are also pretty aggressive (45,000 Ks for 2mbps and 79,000 Ks). The Norwegian operator would have to deal with a different kind of challenge: convincing the building owners to let the fiber in. Easier said than done!
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.