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Bruneians woke up to news on Wednesday (February 27) that the nation’s telecommunications network infrastructure – including that of Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru), Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST) & Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (PCSB) – would now be consolidated and managed under a new entity called Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN).

So what does all this mean? In layman’s terms, all 3 telcos will now have EQUAL ACCESS to network infrastructure provided by UNN, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd.

Darussalam Assets reassured the public that “in the immediate term, there will not be any change in prices or degradation of network services”.

However, over time, consumers could expect to see “substantial improvements in the wider availability and quality of key services at more affordable prices, supported by a state-of-the-art and fully secured integrated network”, it added.

According to Darussalam Assets, all 3 telcos will focus on their respective retail operations, so as to provide “competitive fixed and mobile services” to customers.

People’s Thoughts

Neue spoke to a cross-section of the local community on Wednesday to hear their thoughts about the surprise announcement.

Some were level-headed about the whole thing. “If it helps the nation’s economy in the long term, I’m all for it. But what’s more important for consumers is quality of service and competitive pricing.”

Others jokingly said, “Let’s just hope that something big happens and all our outstanding phone bills are wiped clean!” (*Editor’s note: Highly unlikely!)

That said, these are the top 5 things the public HOPES to see become a reality in the not-too-distant future.

#1. Attractive Mobile Plans!

“From my understanding since all the telcos are under one entity and sharing infrastructure, they are now in a level-playing field. Right now, Samsung’s foldable mobile, Galaxy Fold, can go for US$1,980 through big US carriers. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the nation’s mobile operators stepping up their marketing campaigns to win over new customers? Just imagine getting your hands on this amazing mobile for zero dollars … with a contract plan, of course!”

#2. TelBru Goes Mobile?

“Wouldn’t it be great to see a THIRD mobile operator in Brunei. For now, it’s just DST and Progresif. Can you imagine how cool it’d be if we had a new mobile operator under the name of say, TelBru Mobile? When it comes to competition, I say, ‘The more the merrier!’”

#3. Unlimited Data Plans (No Bandwidth Throttling!)

“One thing that really bothers me is when telcos throttle my Internet speeds once I’ve passed a certain quota. I would like to see more attractive plans for unlimited surfing for both fixed-line and mobile services.”

#4. 4G (or 5G) On ALL Networks?

“With the consolidation of all 3 telcos’ infrastructure, does this mean that we’ll finally have 4G with Progresif? What about 5G? Oh gosh! The possibilities! According to a CNN report, 5G will give your phone a speedier connection – up to 100 times faster than 4G. That’s enough to stream ‘8K’ video or download a 3D movie in 3 seconds! (On 4G, it would take six minutes!)”

#5. Excellent Nation-Wide Coverage!

“To my knowledge, traditionally DST monopolised the market because they have the most network towers in Brunei. So operators like Progresif would lose out on customers in some areas where they don’t have coverage. I’m not an expert, but I would imagine that there would now be excellent nation-wide coverage for all mobile telcos as they now have access to all towers. Did you know that in Pulau Muara Besar, only Progresif has towers there and all the users (thousands of them) there are on the Progresif network. None of them would use DST because, as far as I know, they do not have towers there. You can barely get a DST mobile signal there.” (Photos: Shutterstock)

What Are You Most Excited About?

Out of all these 5 public speculations, which one are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments section below.

And while you’re here, check out some of Neue’s past articles – “10 Types Of Mobile Phone Users In Brunei”, “Time For An Upgrade, Mate!” and “Mi Mix 3: Expensive Fidget Spinner You’ll Want To Buy”.