Formis gets into the broadband ring
By Karamjit Singh November 25, 2013
- Believes SMEs’ adoption of tech coming, targets 10,000 customers in 12 months
- Positioning to be their preferred partner with breakeven projected in 18 months
THE latest player to ride on the UniFi broadband network is listed tech company Formis Resources Bhd, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Formis Development Sdn Bhd, which describes itself as an SME (small and medium enterprise) business specialist.
It recently signed a three-year high-speed broadband (HSBB) deal with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM). Under the agreement, TM will be providing HSBB access and transmission services, as well as Wholesale Internet Access (WIA) to Formis.
TM Global & Wholesale executive vice president Rozaimy Rahman (pic) insists there are ‘China walls’ between TM’s business units and external customers like Formis.
“I have my KPIs (key performance indicators); I will not cut anyone any favours,” he said when asked if he would be pressured to offer better rates to TM business units that wanted to lease the UniFi network, TM’s HSBB service.
For instance, TM’s subsidiary VADS Bhd already offers cloud-based solutions to SMEs, but will now have to face additional competition.
Rather, Rozaimy pointed out that this partnership reiterates TM’s promise of opening access to all MCMC-licensed access seekers regardless of size, as mentioned under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) TM signed with the Malaysian Government when it received an RM2.3-billion (US$720 million) funding injection.
The MCMC is industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.
TM will be providing a minimum capacity of 1Gbps for WIA services for the delivery of Formis’ Ohana offering. While both TM and Formis declined to reveal how much this would cost, it is not a small sum, running into the low single-digit millions.
Ohana is Formis’ suite of broadband services that is expected to be rolled out to business customers by the end of this month. Ohana would be upgradable based on the end customers’ requirements and demand.
“Ohana is a DIY (do-it-yourself) platform, but we will have a cost-effective setup package for businesses to pay upfront and we will design the website for them,” said Formis Development chief executive officer Steven Pun (pic).
The target is to have a minimum of 10,000 customers on board within the first 12 months. It is an ambitious target for sure, but Pun, who worked with BT Retail to create partnerships that tapped its high-speed infrastructure, believes it can be done if one has the right suite of offerings for SMEs.
“We will be provisioning 15 confirmed accounts by the end of November,” he claimed with the breakeven projected in 18 months time.
Formis created the brand Ohana to tap this SME market potential, and right now is focused on connecting the estimated 70% of Malaysian SMEs which don’t even have a website. But it is not looking merely to build websites.
“We want Ohana's offering not to be seen as just high-speed connectivity but as an SME platform to assist business owners in building and maintaining their companies,” said Pun.
The Formis-TM agreement will also see TM providing data centre and call centre services to Formis via VADS.
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