YTL Communications hopes to break even next year

BTimes, May 28, 2013

By Sharen Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, the telecommunications arm of YTL Corp Bhd, expects to break even next year by increasing its Yes subscriber base, says its executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Hong.

Yes, a brand under YTL Communications, offers fourth-generation (4G) mobile Internet services with voice using WiMAX technology.

WiMAX, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, works like the popular WiFi technology. The only difference is that WiMAX works faster and covers a bigger area.

It could cover up to 50km with a speed of up to 70 megabits per second, compared to a speed of up to 15 megabits per second for 3G.

YTL Communications is currently registering losses due to the high start-up and fixed operating costs.

For the fiscal year 2011, it recorded a net loss of RM197 million.

Yeoh told Business Times that YTL Communications is still making losses due to heavy investments in rolling out its wireless broadband network.

He said the company has invested close to RM3.5 billion into its Yes 4G infrastructure and expects the figures to reach RM4.5 billion next year.

"These heavy investments will take time to recoup. The company is also losing money because of high depreciation. We do expect to break even next year and make money from 2015 onwards," he said.

YTL Communications has 4,000-odd base stations in Peninsular Malaysia with a coverage rate of 85 per cent of the population.

Yeoh said the aim is to make the 4G service available in Sabah and Sarawak by the end of this year and have more than 5,000 base stations next year.

The company currently has some 500,000 active users since its launch in November 2010.

"There are 15 million potential customers in Malaysia and so the opportunity is there for us to expand. We hope to reach a customer base of one million by the end of next year as we expand our services and offerings," Yeoh said.

YTL Communications is one of eight companies awarded the 4G licences in 2010 by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

The other licence holders include Green Packet Bhd's Packet One (Networks) Sdn Bhd, REDtone International Bhd, Maxis Bhd and Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd.

The 4G market in Malaysia is dominated by YTL Communications as its service is up to five times faster than any other network.