Webe launch: It’s official (again)

webe launch
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TM has officially launched webe – its mobile service that complements its existing fixed line and converged business. I know you may be confused about the term ‘launch’ that’s been thrown around with this new brand. Well, here’s a couple of things you should know.

The big reveal (kinda)

The big launch by webe on 13 April is what webe describes as a ‘brand reveal.’ The big bang brand introduction showcased webe’s brand aspirations and ambitions, promising to ‘reimagine the mobile space.’ It left out a big gaping detail, though. The much-rumoured telco plan. Which left launch attendees, media and anticipating Malaysian consumers wholly disappointed.

Unlimited everything, but not for everyone

As the hype died down, a couple of months later (30 June), the new “old” kid on the block went live. The good news? This time round, an actual telco plan was revealed – a unique single unlimited everything postpaid plan for MYR199/month. Sounds great. Caveat: only for existing TM or P1 customers, and dependent on whether you have a compatible 850Mhz band (or webe-certified if you will) smartphone. After rebates, customers get to enjoy the unlimited plan for just MYR79/month.

Here are more details about the plan.

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Arguably, MYR199/month is a lot to pay for the average Malaysian, something webe said it may relook at based on industry demands. It reiterates it isn’t purely price-driven – quality of service and value it provides for customers remain key differentiators of the brand. A statement other telcos might snuff considering the local scene has lately become a ‘hypermarket of cheap mobile plans.’

Meanwhile, ex-P1 big man CC Puan stepped down as webe CEO effective 1 August. In his place, Azizi A. Hadi, COO of P1 (since 2014) and a telco industry veteran, assumed the CEO role.

Launch 2.0

So, why another launch? Well, consider this the launch proper, with the full backing of TM (and moral support from the MCMC?). The mobile arm of TM is now officially alive and kicking. Looking through the launch gimmickry and marketing talk, you’ll see that webe fits TM’s all-round convergence and end-to-end digital strategy.

Disappointingly though, considering TM’s stature and magnitude, it hasn’t opted for a full-on roll-out, as we’ve seen with competitors like Yes. Instead, it’s taking a safer, ‘gentler’ approach and deploying in stages. Currently it’s using its current TM and P1 customers as a test bed. Perhaps it wants to make sure its network is ‘fully ready’ before it commits. But sometimes in business, as in other aspects in life, you only get one shot.

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Nevertheless, on the bright side, the self-confessed ‘community-driven telco’ has committed to a full public release of its services in early Q4 2016. Running on the 850Mhz band, it plans to also deploy additional sites on the higher 2600MHz LTE band. Through a RAN sharing agreement with Celcom, users can fall back to Celcom’s 3G/4G network when not within a webe coverage area.

Are you a TM or P1 subscriber? Tried webe yet? If yes, what do you think of it?

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