How one Malaysian telco demonstrated the quality of its network by drifting blindly

Maxis blind drifting
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AT - Alibaba

By now you must be familiar with Maxis’ “Man vs Network” ads seen across TV and online channels where Maxis CTO Morten Bangsgaard puts himself in compromising (and dangerous) situations to prove the reliability and robustness of the Maxis 4G network. He’s put himself in a race car accelerating towards a wall, a cage with a tiger and strapped to a chair heading towards a revolving blade. Heck, he must be the ballsiest person I know in Maxis. Pushing it further, Maxis recently held a “Blind Drifting” session with members of the media at Setia City Convention Centre. Intrigued? Read on.

Blind drifting you say? Malaysia’s biggest telco is quite out-of-the-box, I’ve to tell you that. Well, some say you’ve got to be a little crazy to be creative. Or something like that.

So here’s what Maxis did in a nutshell. Get a specially-prepped rear-wheel drive car, in this case a BMW 1 Series, hire a professional BMW driver to taxi members of the media around a pylon-laid course in an open car park.

Maxis blind drifting
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Morten Bangsgaard, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Sulin Lau, Head of Marketing Services and Abdul Karim Hj Ali, Head of Network

But wait a minute. There’s a catch. All the windows in the car are completely blackened out, so you can’t see in or out. The driver can only depend on a dash-mounted smartphone, which receives a live stream from a webcam on the hood of the car. So a steady feed was essential, to not have the car hit pylons, or worse, end up in a ditch.

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Throw in a couple of members of the media, and you get an afternoon of tire-shredding, sideways fun. Too bad the original pro driver, Ivan Khong was not available due to illness, if not there would have been more severely twisted tummies. Replacement driver, Ray Leong, was no less entertaining though.

Catch a teaser of my experience below:

Maxis currently leads in 4G LTE population coverage and targets to hit 50% of the population by year’s end. The leading telco continues to invest in a modernised network and fibre infrastructure, and set to spend more than RM1 billion this year, more than any other local telco.

Bangsgaard also mentioned that LTE-Advanced (LTA, Category 6) is being tested in several sites in the capital. Category 6 is capable of theoretic downlink speeds of 300Mbps. In Malaysia, around 2% of mobile subscribers are on LTE, and this is expected to rapidly hit double digits over the next five years (Ericsson, 2015).

Here’s more action footage, captured by photographer Herman Chiew:

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