Entrepreneur

M’sians Are Always Comparing Telco Speeds, So This Startup’s Modem Combines 3 Of Them

  • Swag Technologies is a Malaysian company that patented a portable WiFi hotspot that is able to combine the internet connectivity of 3 different mobile providers. 
  • With the hotspot, many internet blind spots can be filled through its combined network coverage. 
  • It is also able to combine the strength of multiple internet providers to provide quicker internet speeds. 
  • With a newly minted SIRIM certification, Swag hopes to gain traction by the end of 2018. 

Malaysians are paying way too much for the internet that we’re actually getting—to the point that even our ministers are using this fact as a way to curry political favour.

Those living in urban areas already feel the pinch of a sub-par internet connection during peak times, but those living in rural areas have it worse through the spotty mobile internet—that is, if they get a connection on their devices at all.

This is not for the lack of cellular towers and internet providers in Malaysia.

Between Time, Maxis, Celcom, Digi, Yoodo, Umobile, Ookyo, Mcalls, and many more I’m sure I’m missing, new telcos are mushrooming like a mossy area after a tropical rain.

Therefore, instead of trying to compete in a difficult-to-penetrate market, this Malaysian startup has come up with an elegant way to piggyback off these existing networks.

Meet the Malaysian telco disruptor—Swag Technologies (yes, you read that right).

The Swag team.

Swag‘s WiFi hotspot device is fully portable, and combines the powers of 3 different mobile networks into one beefed up internet connection.

Founded by Raphael Mannadiar, Rami Aladdin, and Farhash Wafa Salvador, the patented modem also supports most types of wired networks as well.

With a name as outlandish as Swag, the product does have the pressure to live up to it.

“There isn’t really is a single best network out there for mobile,” said Swag’s CTO Rami Aladdin.

According to Rami, a network’s performance instead relies on quite a few factors—the time of day, its location, and the number of people currently on the network.

“What that essentially means is that even if there is a best network in terms of absolute coverage and available bandwidth, its popularity could in turn be its downfall and cause average speeds and user experience to fall dramatically.”

So for Malaysians living in areas with spottier internet connections, any weaknesses in one mobile internet can be cushioned with the other two connections.

And when all three networks are at maximum capacity, Swag’s mobile network is able to offer “fibre-like” speeds to carry the brunt of all the heavy streaming and internet surfing that’s now crucial in this new digital age.

It can also offer these speeds with the mobility of, well, mobile.

Cool, so where can I get my Swag?

While the initial intention may have been to combine different telco services into one modem, the resulting exorbitant bills don’t make sense for the average Malaysian wallet.

Instead, now Swag white labels their products and technology for operators.

Vocabulary: White labelling is when a product is rebranded by another company as their own.

“In the case of the DSL+LTE (landline internet+high-speed wireless internet) offering, we work with operators that have both the fixed and mobile offerings and can offer a single package to their customers under their brand,” said Rami.

A single operator can now converge multiple services that they have on offer, and combine the networks of their less popular services to boost their more popular ones.

“For LTE+LTE (wireless + wireless), we work with virtual network operators who essentially carry SIM cards from multiple networks, and they take care of making the billing transparent to end users.”

Editor’s Note: This section has been amended to reflect the current state of Swag Technologies’ partnerships. 

You might have even gotten Swag without knowing it.

It’s not just the consumers that need consistent internet speeds. To that end, Swag Technologies has already penetrated the business and SME markets.

“For instance, we’ve had a lot of demand from broadcasting companies or event management companies for the live broadcasting of events using a purely mobile, portable solution,” said Rami.

That being said, Swag faces the huge challenge of trying to compete in the hardware space instead, which is highly competitive. They hope to stay ahead by adopting business models that can help bring the hardware costs down as much as possible.

They’re also racing to ensure that their unique technology differentiators are protected by intellectual property laws in all areas they plan on expanding to.

The team has been granted a US patent, which they take as a “great sign for all our pending applications as well as for future licensing plays”.

Just last month, Swag’s modems now have the coveted SIRIM certification for commercial use in Malaysia,following 3 intense years of research and development.

With that crucial step out of the way, Swag expects to start gaining traction in the second half of 2018 through what they call “interesting partnerships in the making”.

  • To find out more about how to get Swag’s modem, you can head over to their website

Feature Image Credit: Swag Technologies

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