Yes, M1 finally started to provide home broadband services – but lo and behold, it’s tapping on Starhub’s infrastructure, which means it probably utilizes the same cable modem that is already serving Starhub Cable Modem customers. There’s however, no news if the existing Starhub cable modem is compatible with the M1 service.

Besides lower pricing plans, existing M1 cellular phone customers (editor: I nearly typed existing M1 cellular customers, which has a different meaning altogether) will also enjoy additional discounts.

In the midst of such competition, it is not known if the ISPs in Singapore will switch to a volume-based price tier, which "penalises" heavy users in their monthly charges. These are potentially users who make use of online services such as BitTorrent, online radio stations and possibly online gaming. As M1 is new to the home broadband service, it is not known if they will be able to manage the monstrous appetite of bandwidth by the heavy users.

While M1 may be offering lower prices, it’s not known if they will be matching freebies that’s traditionally hung as a carrot to bring in new subscribers. This is something which subscribers – both new and old, have to factor in while doing their maths.

M1 offers cut-price deals for home broadband users

By Alfred Siew, Technology Correspondent

MOBILEONE (M1) just raised the stakes in the race for speed, in a move that may give users here better bundle deals for broadband and mobile services.

Yesterday, it became the latest home broadband provider offering cut-price deals that could stoke up a new round of competition for broadband services.

The cellphone operator’s cable modem service to homes is similar to StarHub’s existing service because M1 is leasing the cable modem network from StarHub to connect up homes. Internet users can hook up the modem to the Internet using a cable point.

However, the new entrant is offering lower prices – a boon for home users looking for better deals. The fastest broadband service in town, a 100 megabits per second (Mbps) offering, costs $88.50 a month from M1. StarHub charges $99.29 and offers freebies, while SingTel does not yet have a 100Mbps service.

A slower service, at 10mbps, costs $43.50 a month from M1, while SingTel charges $58. StarHub, which does not have a 10Mbps service, charges $65.06 for a 12Mbps offering.

Faster services enable more users at home to use the Internet for multiple purposes. They may, for instance, download files and surf the Internet at the same time.

Experts say M1’s entrance could mean better deals ahead for consumers – especially those already using the operator’s cellphone services. M1 said its cellphone customers will get an additional 5 to 10 per cent off its new home broadband services.

The move is aimed at keeping customers who may be tempted to buy a bundle of pay-TV, mobile and home broadband services offered at a discount by rivals SingTel and StarHub.

In a statement yesterday, M1 chief executive officer Neil Montefiore said that its home broadband offering will turn M1 into a ‘multi-play’ operator instead of being just a cellphone player.

Analysts are not surprised by the move. Research director Foong King Yew from IT consultancy firm Gartner said M1 could not afford to offer just cellphone services while its rivals roll out attractive bundle deals.

‘M1 has no choice, because the world is moving towards multi-play offerings,’ he added.

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

Article extracted on on 5th August 2008

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