HomeCompanies P1 appoints ZTE to implement phase 2 of its WiMAX rollout
P1 appoints ZTE to implement phase 2 of its WiMAX rollout
Packet One Networks (P1) appointed China’s ZTE Corp. to install and commission phase 2 of its 2.3GHz Mobile WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) between now and the end of 2010 at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on 19 March.
Under this deal worth US$28 million (about RM102 million), ZTE will install 450 new sites in “strategic market centres” on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and parts of the west coast, such as in Penang, which are not covered under phase 1.
P1 chief executive officer, Michael Lai said that with this deal, P1 was on track to cover 35% of the population of West Malaysia by the end of the year and 45% by the end of 2010. Both the first and second phase rollouts will continue concurrently.
Lai also said that P1 currently had a total of 20,000 WiMAX subscribers, which he admitted was still small compared to the about 1.6 million broadband subscribers nationwide.
Dato’ Joseph Salang, Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Communnications said that while P1 had made headway in WiMAX deployment, the other three 2.3GHz licensees were still in a “state of preparation.”
When asked whether his ministry would wait 10 years for the others to deploy their networks, Salang said, “We will not wait until we become old but the ministry will continue to monitor the situation with the other three operators through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to see if there are any valid reasons as to why they cannot roll out their networks and will give them reasonable time to do so before taking action, such as revoking their license.”
Puan Chan Cheong, group managing director and group chief executive officer of Green Packet Bhd which owns P1 said on the sidelines that the release of spectrum held by the other licensees would enable P1 to provide greater capacity to support more subscribers.
Meanwhile, ZTE senior executive vice-president, Dr. Pang Sheng Qing who was present at the event declined to comment on allegations in the Philippines Star on 4 and 6 March that ZTE had overpriced its WiMAX customer premises equipment (WiMAX modems), network equipment and cables by as much as 250% to the Philippines government based on leaked subcontractors quotations, and that ZTE had overpriced its fees for installation, testing and commissioning of the customer premises equipment, according to another source.
Instead Pang said, “We want very much to be a vendor and strategic partner of P1 and went through a rigorous one year test by P1 before we got this contract and WiMAX provides the lowest cost per user for broadband.”
ZTE had also issued a press statement on 17 March vigorously defending itself against the accusations, carried online on Philippines Today website www.philippinestoday.net/index.php?module=article&view=815. The company said that it took such attempts to vilify it very seriously and denied any wrongdoing.