MBits to expand fiberisation in East Coast

KUALA LUMPUR: MBits Digital Sdn Bhd is upbeat about growing its presence in Malaysia, leveraging on its unique "bundle" offering comprising telecommunication, digital broadcasting platform and remittance services.

Founder and chief executive officer Saraleana Nattaya Azmi said the telco-media company was expected to raise up to RM100 million in the third quarter this year as part of its expansion plan to fiberise the underserved community in east coast states.

"Our fibre-to-home with Internet of Things (IoT) initiative will provide internet access to the rural community especially in Felda and Felcra with sufficient fibre cable and wifi connectivity," she told the New Straits Times and Berita Harian in an interview recently.

MBits is an Internet Protocol TV station operator and a digital platform content creator.

It is also the only company holding a full broadcasting licence as well as licences for the full telco spectrum in Malaysia.

MBits has since launched cellular service, data and bandwidth service in June 2020 and its LIFE* & PLAY> content service in October 2020.

MBits also provides its MOVE~ fibre optics infrastructure.

Saraleana said MBits would have to assess the site's viability, depending on the fund allocation that would be raised via private equity or strategic partnership.

"Initially, we expect to use 50 per cent of the total proceeds for the initiative in terms of marketing, networking and content production to improve better quality and digital broadcasting platform under the PLAY," she added.

MBits also provides digital content under its PLAY platform for live news broadcasting, music (podcast), Asian contents (TV series, movies, lifestyle and infotainment).

Saraleana said the company's effort to bridge the connectivity and digitalisation gap would spur interest from potential investors backed by its development infrastructure ranging from fibre optics to mobile network and digital services.

"The whole concept is to offer digital ecosystem with bundle up services. We want to evolve and disrupt the telco by providing one-stop services, while expediting the country's digitalisation effort nationwide."

She said MBits had planned to acquire an e-wallet company by end of this year to expand its remittance services, pending approval from Bank Negara Malaysia.

MBits recently sold a 25 per cent stake to Techna-X Bhd for RM12.5 million in a bid to expand its digital transformation solutions offerings.

Techna-X had entered into a share purchase agreement with Saraleena for the acquisition of 10 million shares, representing a 25 per cent equity stake in MBits.

Techna-X said it intended to leverage MBits' licences, product, and service offerings to improve its efficiencies.

Executive director Datuk Jared Lim said Techna-X would want to see value creation from the acquisition and expected the return on investment within this year.

"MBits offers synergies with Techna-X's digital transformation strategy in terms of providing internet access coverage nationwide.

"MBits also provides bundle of services including mobile data, digital broadcasting platform and remittance among its subscribers," he said.

Lim said MBits currently has about 35,000 subscribers for the Life Sim-card which uses back-end Digi coverage and aims to achieve 100,000 subscribers by end of this year.

The stake acquisition would complement Techna-X's business of rolling out its smart city model in various townships and cities, as well as its IoT solutions, he added.

MBits will be classified as an investment for the group upon completion of the initial stake purchase.

Lim said MBits would provide recurring revenue stream to Techna-X from the telecommunications and broadcasting subscriptions, with exponential value increment expected going forward as MBits rolls out its business plans.

By Ayisy Yusof