News has gone viral. Telenor just updated its website with a new product category: Broadband.
It has been a few months since we noticed solid clues about Telenor cooking something evil around Fiber to the Home.
Linkedin job ads for FTTH positions, broadband flyers relayed via the social networks, it becomes clear that Telenor was looking beyond mobile and covet new untapped market such as broadband.
So what do we learn from this webpage?
First, you will not see any price. We believe this was a last minute call as the Questions and Answers pitch seems to imply that the reader knows the price already. Plus, looking at the website source code, we can clearly see one collapsible is missing. Attention to detail.
On the social networks again, prices leaked back in August: 45,000 kyats for 2mbps and 79,000 kyats for 6mbps (not official).
These prices make echo with the plans advertised on the website: 2 and 6 mbps. Telenor website also says that its broadband prices will be 5 to 10 times lower than competitors in the market.
We also learn from the same webpage that Telenor broadband technology will be fiber. As the Q&A has a few questions about connectivity into individual housing, we expect the service to be Fiber to the Home (FTTH) then not only limited to large condos.
Then, we understand from the same page that there will be one month free trial for the first signups, and 2 weeks only for the next signup phase. The setup fee is entirely free which is very impressive for FTTH knowing how much other ISPs in town are charging for the same service (around 200-500$ per installation).
Regarding coverage and availability, there is no information. We don’t know if the service will be limited to Yangon or other cities will be covered as well. What we know from experience is that this kind of deployment takes time. Considering the product affordability and Telenor popularity, we believe that its fiber team is going to be pretty busy during the first few months and delay may occurred.
Still, the website announces a lead time of one month after the signup to enjoy Telenor Broadband. 14 days if your building is already connected.
To wrap it up on the webpage itself, we are under the impression that Telenor broadband launch was a rush job. The webpage itself is nice looking and fed with lot of infos which is a good thing but the Q&A comes up expeditious and a bit rough.
We use internet only for whatsapp/viber. So, unlimited plan with monthly fees is not suitable for us. Will you provide PAYG package based on usage?
Plus, we went through the pre signup process and received a confirmation email from a non corporate address (Gmail) with a sloppy look. That is not a good sign.
Is it going to shake the broadband market in Myanmar?
Definitely. As said in a previous post, the broadband market in Myanmar is currently organized around fiber and wireless companies.
Fiber companies (Yatanarpon, Elite, Fortune, MPT) charging high setup and recurring fee for a quality often doubtful. Wireless companies (True Net, NetCore, Bluewave, MyanmarNet) which are mainly new players in the market. They are small, agile and aggressive but relying on a technology which is subject to interference and does not allow to transit large bandwidth capacity.
In our opinion, there are two challenges that are currently slowing down broadband penetration in Myanmar (less than 1% as of 2016): Barrier to entry and brand awareness/consideration.
The operator that will be able to break these two challenges will have an untapped market ahead.
And Telenor well understands that. It literally crushes the barrier to entry with free installation fees. And it has more likely one of the highest brand awareness and consideration in Myanmar. On top of that, it offers a free trial for the last customers that could be suspicious regarding its capability to perform on broadband.
There is no doubt Telenor Broadband is going to be a hit and a major threat to the existing players. Then as always comes the time of execution. We have seen in the past that Telenor Myanmar masters it. But fixed broadband is new business for the Norwegian operator at least in Asia.
With new LTE licensees coming next year and Telenor launching FTTH, there is going to be a huge choice for the end users regarding broadband connectivity. That is excellent news and we will keep you posted as soon as we get more details about these recent developments.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.