Telcos get on board government's Prihatin Rakyat initiative

KUALA LUMPUR: Telecommunication companies (telcos) are coming together to support the nation, as part of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package, announcing the mechanics of what they will be offering to customers nationwide.In a joint press release, industry operators Celcom Axiata Berhad (Celcom), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi), Maxis Berhad (Maxis), U Mobile Sdn Bhd (U Mobile), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) and TIME dotcom Berhad (TIME) announced they were offering RM1 billion support to ensure customers stay connected and supported.Earlier today, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced telcos will provide free internet data usage to their respective customers throughout the Movement Control Period (MCO) beginning Apr 1.Muhyiddin said the government has allocated RM600 million under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package for this initiative.In their statement, these telcos listed several initiatives to help customers remain connected during the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO), and to support them with assistance in the form of free data during these unprecedented times.The following are the initiatives: Free Internet 1. All Postpaid and Prepaid customers of Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile will receive free high-speed internet of 1Gb per day, to be used between 8am and 6pm. This will begin by 1 April 2020 and will be in effect throughout the duration of MCO. Customers will be able to enjoy this service from their respective operators. 2. TM and TIME are supporting the mobile operators by providing additional fibre capacity to serve higher traffic demands. 3. The industry is also working on ways of easing the burden of the B40 segment during this period and will announce plans around this aspiration in due course, following discussions with the relevant authorities on the best mechanisms to support this segment. 4. All operators are also offering specific packages and assistance for their customers. Customers may refer to their respective operators for more information. Additional network investment to support increased demand and provide continued network availability & capacity 1. The industry assures customers that its first priority is to maintain the high availability and quality of telecommunications networks to ensure connectivity remains accessible for all. All operators continue to invest where needed, and have teams working 24/7 during this MCO period to maintain sites, upgrade capacity, and improve coverage. This is to ensure the network is resilient in anticipation of heavier traffic from people staying and working from home. Operators continue to work closely with the authorities to enable our teams to carry out rectification and upgrades required to ensure service network availability is not compromised during this period. 2. With Malaysians spending more time working and learning from home, operators continue to see increased demand from higher utilisation of usual lifestyle applications and also new mobility applications, as well as the shift in areas of high utilisation as the population largely moves from central business districts to residential areas. 3. To cater for this increased demand and to ensure uninterrupted connectivity for all, service providers have put in additional investments on top of original plans to upgrade the network capacity. Additionally, traffic management and re-prioritisation activities are also conducted to optimise user experience, prioritising essential applications and services and ensuring productivity for the business community by enabling work from home. 4. Additional investment has also been put to enhance the network coverage and capacity for critical sites such as hospitals, government and enforcement agencies, and media centers around the country, to name a few. 12,000 front liners and engineers working 24×7 in multiple shifts1. Operators remain committed to providing customers support when they need. All call centers and social media support teams remain in operation throughout this period. In support of MCO, all digital and online channels are also available for consumers to continue to enjoy our services. 2. Front liners such as call centre agents, social media agents, network and IT operations, and all related ecosystem partners and vendors continue to support the day-to-day operations, on site rectifications as well as the additional activities as a result of managing the increased demand. 3. The safety and health of frontline staff remain our utmost priority, and appropriate measures are taken such as sanitization, temperature checks, and providing adequate PPE as they carry out their duties. We deeply thank all employees involved in ensuring service levels are maintained during these times. 4. We would like to remind our customers that stores remain closed during this MCO period. The industry continues to work with the authorities to evaluate best possible options around the limited opening of these points of sale, so we may resume attending to customer needs and the issues they face. Free calls to important hotline and emergency numbers including additional coverage for critical sites 1. All operators have zero rated calls to important hotline and emergency numbers, including the Ministry of Health’s Crisis Preparedness Response Centre (CPRC), MOH state branches, identified Covid-19 screening and admitting hospitals, the MCO hotline, and MOH’s official website. We believe we all have a role to play to ensure Malaysians heed the call of the government to stay home and follow instructions provided by the authorities. 2. To ensure Malaysians are well informed with vital information on Covid-19, operators are working with authorities to disseminate health, emergency, and public interest announcements via daily SMS broadcasts to our customers. Driving economic value through the supply chain 1. As responsible corporate citizens, all operators also endeavour to ensure that our employees continue to be employed, and our partners and supply chain continue to be supported in the coming months.

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