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Tie-up boost for YTLe WiMAX plan
 
Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sook Ping

The Star Online, June 20, 2008

XOHM to share its expertise

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL e-Solutions Bhd (YTLe), which has inked a collaborative agreement with Sprint Nextel’s XOHM business unit, expects the partnership to play a major role in the establishment of YTLe’s WiMAX ecosystem in Malaysia.

Executive chairman and managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping said the tie-up would enable the company to tap XOHM’s WiMAX experience, resources and capabilities in the US and implement them in Malaysia.

“We’ve got a roadmap and this collaboration with XOHM will facilitate YTLe’s plans to develop and deploy WiMAX in Malaysia,” he said after the parties inked the agreement yesterday.

Yeoh said XOHM would share its expertise and experience in key areas, including ecosystem strategy, infrastructure design and network deployment.

On when the company planned to roll out WiMAX, Yeoh said: “We will roll out as soon as possible. Our time to market will become faster due to this partnership. We will of course comply with all the necessary regulatory requirements set out by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).”

Last year, MCMC awarded WiMAX 2.3-gigahertz spectrum to Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd, REDtone International Bhd, Green Packet Bhd and YTLe subsidiary Y-Max Networks Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Bizsurf (M) Sdn Bhd).

All four companies have been mandated by MCMC to roll out WiMAX services to at least 25% of the Malaysian population by year-end.

YTLe plans to deliver an affordable WiMAX package with fast, wide coverage that will complement the communication needs of consumers and businesses.

Sprint Nextel global development director Teresa E. Kellett said the collaboration was synergistic as both companies shared the same vision for WiMAX.

“We have the network expertise and the ability to manage this kind of rollout, so time to market will be more effective and smooth (for YTLe),” she said.

On potential technical challenges, given the different WiMAX spectra being used in the US (2.5Ghz) and in Malaysia (2.3Ghz), Kellett said they were very similar.

“The Intel chipsets typically support 2.3Ghz, 2.5Ghz and 3.5Ghz. So it’s just a matter of making sure that device vendors have the proper radio frequency filters to support them,” she said.

Last month, Sprint Nextel announced it would merge its wireless broadband unit with wireless broadband Internet service provider Clearwire Corp, combining its WiMAX network with Clearwire’s existing pre-WiMAX broadband network.

Sprint Nextel will own 51% of the firm with ex-Clearwire shareholders owning 27%. A consortium comprising Comcast Corp, Time Warner Inc, Intel Corp, Google Inc and Bright House Networks will invest US$3.2bil and own the balance.

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