My Thoughts on RM 200 Smartphone Rebate

Back in September, the government announced a RM 200 rebate for Youths who are between the age of 21-30 with a monthly income of RM 3,000 and below. A good move which I have applauded in my review of ZTE Acqua. Today , released the news stating that there are some strings attached to the Pakej Komunikasi Belia (Youth Communication Package).

Image taken from MCMC Website

  • Warganegara Malaysia berumur 21 tahun hingga 30 tahun. (Check , you must be between 21-30 years old)
  • Berpendapatan bulanan RM3000 ke bawah (Seems reasonable)
  • Model telefon pintar 3G yang diluluskan dengan harga maksimum RM500  (Ouch !)
  • Pelanggan jalur-lebar mudah-alih sedia ada atau pakej baharu. (Ouch !)
  • Hanya satu telefon pintar untuk satu belia. (Again this is resonable and to prevent abuses)


Clause 3 and 4 states that that only smartphones which are priced RM 500 and below are applicable for Rebate. Furthermore  you’ll have to be existing subscriber or register for a new broadband plan with any of the telco that participated in the program. The list can be found in this web-site from MCMC. It is in Malay
Well that is for the news. Now what are you going to read in the next few sections are my personal thoughts which I have written and that I would like to share with my readers
Raise The Limit To RM 1,000
We all know that RM 500 phones are pretty much weak and cheap phones. Generally , they either run old and outdated versions of Android and the touch-screens aren’t great. In fact you can’t do much about this , an example of this would be Samsung Galaxy Y. Yes it is marketed as Samsung Galaxy but you sort of get a half-baked phone. The problem of buy old and outdated phones such as Galaxy Y is that you would not get support from SAMSUNG or even upgrades to latest version of Android. That is alright for some people as mainly they would use to WhatsApp,SMS and do light surfing. But for most of the youths out there it sort of limits the experience you get with Smartphone. There is an article in ExtremeTech on why you should not buy cheap Android phones.
So that leaves option with either going with BlackBerry or Nokia which I would think would be a better option compared to Android offering. But then it is too early to say on how telcos are going to play their part. They may able to subsidize some decent smartphone into RM 500 range. All I can say now is we’ll probably have to wait
Plans ?  Rates ? Billing ? 
I am sure telcos would love to bound you for a 2 year contract or 1 year contract. The question is how they are going to implement it. Malaysia is a Prepaid nation. An article from MalaysianWireless shows this. Just take a look at the number of prepaid users out there. The question is will these youth be willing to be tied down to postpaid. Most of the youth prefer prepaid because you are able to control your usage. Suppose if you have ran out of  talk time , you could still use the phone and still not be overcharged. In postpaid there is not a proper way to say “halt” , I do not want to spend more.
I am quite sure that telco would find a plan out. I would predict that generally telco would ask you to pay say RM 600-800 after the rebate , which includes phone and probably a 1 year worth of data usage and sms/calls. If you want more you would have to top it up. If they do something like this it would be a win-win situation. So once you have ran out of your monthly quota , you could still top it up. But again it depends on how each telcos play their game and how it works
Malaysian-made phone ? Malaysian Content Developers ?
Frankly speaking , I would love to see a phone which is made in Malaysia. I am not talking about taking some generic Android phones from China and putting it a sticker. I am talking about actually making one. Pairing up with a manufacturer and releasing a special smartphone device just for this purpose. I would certainly purchase this phone if it is good. Now I hope that they don’t release a RM 100 Chinese Android phone and put a price tag of RM 499.
Some of you may say why a Malaysian made phone ? Well this opens up more content and application developers which is good for everyone. We can have more local tailored applications and local developers may have an option of having their application being hosted in 1Malaysia App Store (suppose if it exists)
The thing about having a special Malaysian made phone is that it must been executed perfectly and at the same time offering options for our local Application Developers. If you think our local Application developers are a joke , just take a look at few such as Teranto Tech. We clearly need a platform for these developers to publish and get advertising. 

Again it is very early for me to judge. I applaud the move , however in order for this program to be successful , few things which I have mentioned would probably have to be researched. If it is done perfectly , voila it is a win-win situation for everyone , for the government , for the rakyat , for the telcos and even content/application developers as well. I just pray that this program would be a success and it would give opportunity for more people to get themselves hooked into Angry Birds and the World of Smartphone 😛
What are you thoughts about this – feel free to post a comment or hit me up in Twitter 

2 thoughts to “My Thoughts on RM 200 Smartphone Rebate”

  1. I do think that the rm500 limit for the smartphone is reasonable like what you just said to prevent abuses but of a different kind. Although I was disappointed that this was only applicable with certain phones, the added celcom contract is also a letdown.
    “Raise The Limit To RM 1,000”
    like I said rm500 is reasonable, this is purely from the national broadband plans. Extending the rebate would defeat the purpose of the national broadband plans. I think you know that keeping it low would limit it only to people with low budget. Galaxy Y or any other similarly offered phones is a good choice, I am saying this because there are people around the world using mono-colored screen phones,very low end Nokia Java enabled phones. I don’t think I’ve found that Extremetech article( I don’t read their blog) Is this it?,
    “Malaysian-made phone ? Malaysian Content Developers ?”
    “taking some generic Android phones from China and putting it a sticker” , if you meant the 1MY tab then I don’t know anything about that but if you meant phones like CSL it is somewhat like that but better,their technology is shared between companies globablly India,China and other developing world. They are atleast manufactured in Malaysia. From my perspective they are malaysian-made although not a dedicated one, IMO designs are not of their concern, its just ciplak a design and its function then sell. It’s not easy. An example of a dedicated competing mobile phone product company would be Ninetology(they are not local though), Genuine products are not easy to make to put it simply.
    Teranto Tech is not a good example , locally they are good but internationally they are quite at the lowest stage . The application and games they made can be achieved by a team of programmers or a passionate lone programmer although taking a longer time.

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