Brunei Darussalam has seen a major transformation in its telecoms and infocommunications landscape over the past two years. On December 15, 2018, the Ministry of Communications was renamed as the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC).
The following year, Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) was established for the consolidation of all telecoms network infrastructure. The three telcos – imagine, DST and Progresif – will focus on retail operations, with equal access to network infrastructure provided by UNN.
The establishment of UNN is a major milestone in Brunei’s ICT transformation journey to become a Smart Nation.
In line with the key functions of the Authority for Info-communications Technology of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) to promote fair and efficient market conduct and effective competition, Number Portability was introduced on January 24, 2020. Its introduction is aimed to give customers the freedom to choose and switch telecommunication service providers while maintaining their existing telephone numbers.
As a measure to ensure ease of number portability implementation among service providers, AITI issued an advisory guideline in September 2019 to guide the implementation of number portability.
Telecommunication service providers have offered the number portability service, with UNN facilitating the switching between service providers.
On January 24, 2020, DST and Imagine launched new products and service packages to provide more choice for consumers, while Progresif introduced theirs on February 1, 2020.
Consumers are advised to do their due diligence before subscribing to a different product or switching to a different service provider.
To ensure consumers can make a fully informed decision, all service providers are required to provide transparency on: the service price and package; product features; terms and conditions of use; billing practices; customer care services; the service provider’s Fair Usage Policy which describes its traffic management practices; early termination charges; and unused credit balances.
Launched in 2017 to improve business and consumer accessibility to AITI’s licences and permits, AITI’s Online Services enable applications to be made at anytime, anywhere, without having to physically go to AITI’s counters during counter operation hours.
With the integration of a payment gateway in the AITI Online Services, AITI customers can also make their payments for any of their approved applications conveniently online with any of their debit or credit cards. This initiative also allows AITI’s customers to view and print their past invoices, approved permits and licences in their own accounts so proper planning and budgeting can be done. With a click of a button, they can be automatically directed to AITI should there be any request for assistance.
In collaboration with the E-Government National Centre (EGNC), the Content Advisory Council (CAC) introduced a helpline called “Talian Aduan Isu Tular Di Media Sosial” in July 2018 to raise public awareness on safety measures and ethical use of social media in a more prudent and responsible way.
Additionally, in AITI’s effort to continuously educate the public to promote a safe, secure and trusted ICT environment, audio awareness on fake news was broadcast on all Radio Television Brunei (RTB) radio channels and Kristal FM from November 2018 until March 2019.
An awareness activity has also been carried out with the aim of enhancing knowledge on AITI’s type approval and enforcement process with the Royal Customs and Excise Department (RCED), starting with an introductory presentation to RCED’s officers in July 2018 at their headquarters and followed with hands-on briefings at selected RCED premises from October to November 2018. In January 2019, RCED celebrated the International Customs Day and AITI participated as one of the enforcement agencies.
In promoting the usage of a safe, secure and trusted ICT environment, AITI has also continued its outreach programme to the participants of the National Service Programme (PKBN). From 2016 to January 2020, AITI has engaged a total of over 1,600 youth.
On February 11, 2020, the Brunei Darussalam Library Association and AITI conducted a seminar on Internet Governance for librarians at the Lambak Kanan Library. The seminar was facilitated by two officers from AITI who shared about the Internet Etiquette and was attended by about 50 librarians from institutes of higher learning, government departments, secondary schools and colleges.
In 2019 and early 2020, AITI carried out several activities to promote the ICT development in the country, including: the CyberShop Fair 2019, Cybershop Fair 2020, ICT Savviness Programme, Tech Kids Camp 2019, Hackathon for Teens, Digital ASEAN Stakeholder Engagement, Nuansa Darussalam, Video-Making Workshop, ASEAN Cyberkids Camp 2019, Youth in e-Commerce, IPv6 Deployment Workshop, Digital Skills Training for Senior Citizens Programme, Nuansa Darussalam 2, ASEAN-Republic of Korea Film Leaders Incubator (FLY) 2019, Emerging Technology Opportunities Seminar, DigiBiz Talk, Patent Protection Seminar, as well as publishing the Brunei ICT Household and Brunei ICT Business Reports.
For more information on AITI, you can visit www.aiti.gov.bn, aiti.brunei on Instagram or AITI Brunei on Facebook.
Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) is an organisation 100 per cent wholly owned by His Majesty’s Government and recognised as a government-linked company under Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd. Established on December 4, 2018, UNN’s purpose is to serve Brunei Darussalam’s digital telecommunications, offering wholesale telecommunication services to both national and international clients.
On September 1, 2019, UNN officially took over all the network infrastructure operated by the existing telecommunications service providers. The takeover is an effort to consolidate and modernise all the transferred networks to deliver highly resilient and quality services to the whole nation. Focussing on the retail operations are the telecommunication companies: Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru), Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST) and Progresif Sdn Bhd (Progresif) owned by Darussalam Assets.
Each service provider will have equal access to network infrastructure with the ability to offer both fixed and mobile services to the public. It is then up to the telecommunication companies to offer attractive packages to consumers and penetrate the market in a fair competition.
UNN’s senior management was recruited from Deutsche Telekom Group – Europe’s largest telecommunications provider and UNN’s technical partner. The team will spearhead the transition before handing it over to a fully Bruneian management team within five years. UNN actively recruits local talents from the telecommunication companies to fill all the positions in the organisation.
UNN aims to create a modern and cost-efficient digital platform in support of Brunei’s Vision 2035 and ICT transformation journey. By modernising the network infrastructure and investing on new technologies, UNN can significantly elevate the quality and array of services provided in the country with better affordability and accessibility.
The telecommunications industry in Brunei Darussalam has undergone a major transformation since the government’s establishment of Jabatan Telekom Brunei (JTB) in 1952 as the nation’s first telecommunications body that introduced Brunei’s telephony and Internet connectivity services. This department was officially corporatised in 2006 known as Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru), and became the country’s leading telco provider that connected thousands of Bruneians across the nation with state-of-the art Internet connectivity through the introduction of Fiber-to-the-Home.
Last year, the country again witnessed a significant change in the telecommunications landscape, leading to the formation of imagine Sdn Bhd whose team of imagineers inherited services from TelBru in January 2020 but with sharper vision to provide more robust products and services for the people while encouraging growth as part of the global Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Chosen for its potential, the name imagine is meant to inspire borderless creativity, freedom, and opportunities as the company embarks on a new era. With a foundation built over the past 68 years since the early ’50s, imagine is at the frontier of Brunei’s ICT growth at the hands of experts with decades of expertise and insight.
Imagine is led by its mission to empower Bruneians to imagine, create, and experience what’s next in their personal and professional life whether at home, at work or on the move. Its products and services range from broadband to mobile including leased lines, bundles and digital mobile radios (DMRs) and other Value-Added Services catered to meet the needs of all Bruneians throughout the nation.
With borderless content accessible at simply the tap of a finger, imagine understands the unique data needs of each individual. Riding upon this realisation, the guiding principles that form imagine’s products and services focus on Freedom and Flexibility where the company aims to enable customers to choose how they shape their Internet experience.
In January 2020, imagine unveiled its new broadband and post-paid packages, inspired by feedback received through public surveys.
The new broadband plans offer varying speed options across several data plans as well as unlimited packages for the needs of its customers. With capabilities that now include mobile services, imagine’s post-paid mobile plans offer contract and non-contract options with ‘Boosters’ available for additional talk, text and lifestyle data. Imagine also introduced its Dream Bundle that combines broadband and post-paid mobile at highly competitive rates with access to Wi-Fi in over 100 locations nationwide attributed to the foundation that was laid by TelBru.
For businesses, imagine offers a range of services designed to maximise results regardless of the business size. Apart from its corporate rates on both broadband and mobile, imagine offers digital storage with its cloud services and webhosting services for companies and enterprises that are looking to develop a digital presence and reach its audience as well as cybersecurity products to provide ease of mind when going online. Imagineer consultants are also on hand to provide businesses with the necessary insight and feedback as they look to maximise their potential in an ever-growing digital environment.
Imagine offers its services to all forms of businesses including start-ups, enterprises that seek to expand its operations and international businesses looking to make Brunei their next home.
Imagine celebrated the opening of its 10th branch at the arrival and departure halls of the Brunei International Airport on January 24, 2020. Strategically located for the convenience of travellers and visitors alike, the new branch enables imagine to cater to the needs of tourists to help them keep in touch with home through imagine’s nationwide Wi-Fi network while exploring the country.
The new branch provides signups for broadband and voice services, post-paid mobile, pre-paid mobile sims, prepaid Wi-Fi cards that can be used through imagine’s nationwide Wi-Fi network, upgrades and bill payment, as well as Customer Experience Centre to assist customers with connecting to the Wi-Fi facility at the airport.
The rise of global Internet access over the past decade has opened up avenues for imagine and its customers to communicate, and imagine continues to take great care to meet their needs.
As imagine invests in its human resource to meet the expectations of its customers, imagine is in constant motion to provide the best customer service in Brunei either through its Talk2Us service line at 111, or through its social media platforms, and over its counters.
Behind the scenes, imagine’s customer service agents are highly trained and are constantly informed of the company’s products and services to ensure that those who get in touch are able to receive information on imagine’s latest products as well as customer support.
In addition to catering to the general public, imagine also provides personalised services especially for its business and enterprise customers.
Striving to build trust, imagine has taken the opportunity to explore the possibilities of giving back to the people of Brunei with foresight to expand beyond its borders. Imagine is not just about building a business but also building a community, with allocated investment into its Corporate Social Responsibility, which imagine has aligned with its vision and mission to empower Bruneians for the future.
Towards this direction, imagine focusses on education as its mainstay alongside its support to partnered non-government organisations that focus on social welfare development, women empowerment and Brunei’s youth movement in general.
By investing in the aforementioned causes, imagine aims to develop future leaders and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge befitting the demands and expectations of the 21st Century.
Statistical data over the past few years has made it clear that more and more Bruneians crave data, and the demand for this commodity will only increase over time.
The data demand is evident in the growth of social media penetration in Brunei with 94 per cent of the population in 2019 having access to platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These numbers have placed Brunei third highest globally and highest in ASEAN. In 2018, mobile penetration exceeded the number of people living in the country with 130 users for every 100 people.
Taking the data demand statistics into consideration, imagine aspires to be the telecommunications service provider of choice. As imagine progresses into the future, imagine strives to explore other lifestyle and technology choices for home, work and on the move. The team at imagine is constantly on the lookout for the latest in technology and digital innovation to add to the company’s diverse service portfolio as the company heeds His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s call to progress the country’s Industrial Revolution 4.0 towards building a Smart Nation.
As imagine continues to embed its presence in the Bruneian community, the company takes great care and measure to ensure that all of its customers and the Bruneian people in general are catered to the Bruneian way. This means offering products and services that include the company’s customers in the designing process of its packages, and translating them into tangible and worthwhile pieces befitting the Bruneian need. Imagine achieves this by constantly communicating with clients either through thousands of surveys or feedback received on a regular basis.
Imagine aims to continue its efforts for the comfort of not just its customers, but also the people, the nation and the communities that the company serves.
Established in 1995, DST is Brunei Darussalam’s leading telecommunications service provider offering mobile, broadband, pay TV as well as radio. With over two decades of providing nationwide mobile services through its subsidiary, DST Communications Sdn Bhd (DST), the brand continues to strive in improving the quality of its products with the new shift to Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST) as of January 24, 2020. The transferral also ensures that their customers can now truly enjoy limitless connectivity, everywhere.
One of the most significant things that DST believes in, is listening to the people. Just as DST was there in the beginning, they are still here to help lend an ear, as a brand that cares for its people. DST hears the people, and they are committed to helping customers find the solutions they seek.
The concept of limitless connectivity is drawn from the idea that to be human, is to be limitless. DST is not just concerned with a connection, but with what they can do with that connectivity together. Their brand aims to enable their customers to be able to do more, with more, for more – creating solutions fit for everyone’s lifestyle and connectivity needs.
Being the first local telco is a heritage that DST places a huge significance upon; DST is a Bruneian lifestyle brand that is tailored for everyone, proudly local and community-centric at heart and DST believes in helping people stay in touch with the communities.
With brand new and revamped products, DST continues to find ways to provide their customers with affordable and accessible connectivity. The introduction of their very own fibre service, called
INFINITY, is just one of the ways DST endeavours to cater to their customers’ needs. INFINITY service allows customers to enjoy a home fibre service that lets them stream, download, surf and play games with numerous options of local data bundles, all at incredibly affordable prices.
Aside from that, DST’s existing products and services have been improved. Easi, the most used prepaid service in Brunei has recently been upgraded to offer better value, with new bundles of local SMS and data. In addition, the add-on data packages have also been revised to give more value for your money’s worth.
DST’s mobile postpaid service, formerly known as Prima, has also received an upgrade and renamed to MOBI. The three available monthly plans have been simplified to better cater to the customers’ digital needs. The plans also include unlimited local calls and SMS, allowing customers to talk and text non-stop, while staying connected online through social media, streaming on YouTube and Netflix and more with their local data bundles.
Freedom has also been introduced, conveying the product’s sought-after data flexibility. The product has two types of data; Mobile and Wi-Fi, and can be used for any occasion locally and outside of Brunei.
As DST moves forward to help develop the nation’s economy within the global context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, their brand will continue to push for a digital transformation by investing in human capital development. As DST upgrades itself towards a more innovative and diverse portfolio of digital systems and business models, it will undoubtedly move towards embodying a digital culture that allows everyone to enjoy the unlimited opportunities of a future where connectivity is available everywhere, for everyone.
Since its launch in late 2014, Progresif’s customer base has grown exponentially from 20,000 up to 200,000 by mid-2019. Progresif has marked a number of significant milestones over the years, expanding its services beyond those of a conventional mobile service provider. In partnership with Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, Progresif became the first telco in Brunei Darussalam to launch a mobile wallet that enables customers to make bill payments and online purchases, among many others.
Aside from venturing into mobile payment services, Progresif has also expanded its services into media and entertainment. In 2017, Progresif launched Brunei’s first app-based mobile radio station featuring a live stream broadcast, as well as a range of curated playlists and podcasts. Following the announcement and formation of Unified National Networks (UNN) in 2019, there has been much anticipation of what is to come for consumers. Progresif recently launched 4G+ Internet access for all customers on their mobile devices, the first of a number of changes that will define what is next for Progresif and the ICT sector in Brunei.
“Progresif has always been more than just a mobile provider. Our mission statement since day one is about connecting people and empowering them,” said Progresif CEO Hajah Nurul Haniah binti Haji Jaafar.
She also added that the support of their customers will allow Progresif to give back more to the community through its products, services and corporate social responsibility programmes.
Progresif recently made a pledge to give back one per cent of its revenue to the community by supporting arts and culture, education, environment and entrepreneurship in the country.
The issue of number portability has long been a frustrating hindrance for customers who want to change telephone carriers for a more suitable or personalised service. In January 2020, Progresif issued a statement, disclosing that customers who want to switch their mobile or fixed line service to Progresif from an alternative carrier will be able to keep their telephone numbers.
“It’s no secret that in Brunei, our numbers are like an extension of one’s identity. From car licence plates to mobile numbers, it’s quite normal for us Bruneians to feel a personal attachment,” said the CEO.
As part of its market research, Progresif reached out to its customers to determine the main setback of switching to a new provider. Many customers have expressed the hassle of having to reach out to family members, friends, clients and other contacts to inform them of the change, said Hajah Nurul Haniah according to a press release.
With the new policy, Progresif customers can easily visit any of their stores, choose their desired plans and keep their phone numbers. Progresif gives its customers the ‘freedom to do more’ with the number portability, in line with one of Progresif’s commitments since its launch.
Progresif officially unveiled its much anticipated mobile and home broadband packages during a press conference on February 1, 2020. The company presented a one-size-fits-all plan for mobile and home broadband that gives all users the same starting package of 1GB data with unlimited talk and text for only BND10 for mobile users. Meanwhile, home broadband subscribers are given a 100GB data starting point for only BND40. Consumers also have the option of bundling their personal mobile and home broadband subscriptions together within the same OneBundle.
There is also the One Family Bundle, which gives 10GB of shared mobile data including up to five lines, and 100GB of home broadband data for only BND100 with a free installation. The bundle comes with a free subscription for Progresif Media, a new content streaming app which will be available in the near future.
For both mobile and home broadband, users have the choice of easily adding on data at any point, at a price of BND10 per 5GB on mobile, and BND10 per 100GB on home broadband. Furthermore, any unused data will be carried over to the next month.
“What Progresif’s OnePlan gives you is complete control of your spending in a way that is flexible and transparent,” said Hajah Nurul Haniah. “You only pay for the data you use, data you haven’t used gets carried over to the next month, and your line won’t be throttled. We believe this is big progress for the consumer.”
Moving forward, Progresif will continue to expand its products and services, including public Wi-Fi access and Progresif Media which will host the best of local, regional and Hollywood films, as well as video and audio content. Progresif customers can expect more new developments to be announced soon for an even better customer experience.
More than a mobile service provider, Progresif supports Bruneians in line with the vision of His Majesty. Just over three years ago, Progresif established a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy based on four pillars: Education, Entrepreneurship, Environment, as well as Arts and Culture. These pillars form the cornerstone in everything that Progresif does. In the latest Progresif Magazine issue 11, Progresif shared what progress looks like. Since its launch five years ago, Progresif has supported over 255 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all four pillars of its CSR. Furthermore, Progresif has supported over 80 start-ups and 50 musical acts in terms of performances and record singles.
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