Malaysia has a highly advanced communications infrastructure. Landlines for home and business are available almost anywhere in the country. Broadband and wireless Internet services are accessible in a growing area of KL and other major cities – broadband penetration currently stands at 21% and internet penetration at 63.5%. Handphones are everywhere with 1,026 mobile phone subscribers per 1,000 inhabitants. Indeed, in some parts of Malaysia, you can’t take four steps without hearing a personalized ringtone.
HOW TO CHOOSE A MOBILE NETWORK
Mobile phones, often referred to handphones in Malaysia, are widespread. The GSM service is extensive and reliable, and competition between providers has made voice calls, SMS messaging, and other services quite economical.
All service providers offer both pre-paid and post-paid accounts. As post-paid handphones are subject to the same deposit as landlines (see below), most expats choose the pre-paid route. Pre-paid service means you pay for calls and messages as you go. When your account runs low, you can top up your handphone by buying a reload card from your service provider. Reload cards are available at most convenience stores and other locations. Several companies provide a pre-paid service, and each has its own code (see below for a corresponding list). Before choosing, visit the company’s website to see its coverage area, and ask around about the merits of each.
SIM cards can be bought in most malls. The government has made it compulsory for all pre-paid users to register, so don’t forget to take your passport and address with you. Pre-paid SIM cards can be used on any Malaysian-standard phones, allowing you to shop around for the right phone. Competition for handphone sales is incredibly intense, so don’t be afraid to haggle! After buying and charging up, buy your first reload card, top up, and you’re ready to go.
HOW TO GET A LANDLINE
One of the first creature comforts an arriving expat looks for is a home telephone line. Telekom Malaysia is the national phone company, and service is generally reliable. To get hooked up, you must first visit the nearest Telekom Malaysia office and fill out an application form (see below for a partial list of locations). The form is available in Bahasa and English.
Expats arrive and leave Malaysia frequently, and in the past there have been problems with some expats defaulting on their outstanding telephone bill. As a result, foreigners are either a) required to pay a rather hefty RM1000+ deposit, or b) have a local Malaysian co-sign their application. As your co-signer is ultimately responsible for settling your bill, it may be difficult to find a volunteer!
After you submit your application, expect a one to two week waiting period before your telephone is hooked up (Tip: If you’ve already purchased a handphone, give this contact number, and make sure to be present when the workmen arrive). Your phone bill can be paid via online banking, or at one of many post offices and TM stores. Refer to your phone bill to find out more.
HOW TO MAKE AN INTERNATIONAL CALL
By far, the most economical way to make an international direct dial (IDD) call is to purchase a pre-paid IDD card, available at most convenience stores throughout Malaysia. Just punch in the correct connection digits, dial the telephone number complete with the country and area code, and you’re through. These can be used on either landlines or cellphones, but do check with your mobile service provider regarding any additional charges. Lines are generally clear and static-free, but you may experience a slight time lag in coversations.
HOW TO GET ONLINE
Malaysia’s Internet infrastructure is growing rapidly, and compared to other countries in the region, it’s incredibly advanced.
The easiest way to get online in Malaysia is also the most advanced – connecting via a wireless access point (WAP), located in many coffee shops and restaurants in Malaysia’s larger cities. There are a few ‘free’ access points in Malaysia, and if you have a wireless-enabled notebook computer (or an older notebook with an additional plug-in wireless card), connecting can be as easy as sitting down, turning on your computer, and starting to surf.
The majority of the telecoms networks are also now offering wireless broadband delivered through a USB modem. This means that you can access the internet via your account from numerous locations. However, coverage can be sketchy, particularly with the smaller providers, so be sure to find out if your area is covered before you sign up. It’s always a good idea to ask your neighbors and building management for advice – they are likely to know which network is super fast and which will have you bashing your head on the keyboard in frustration.
Numerous companies offer basic dial-up Internet services. Though the ‘low end’ of technology, the services offered are all quite affordable, and depending on where you live and the state of your phone lines, you should be able to achieve a reasonably fast connection.
Though coverage and competition are, at present, somewhat limited, wired broadband Internet access (ADSL) is coming on strong in Malaysia. You’ll probably want to choose TM Net’s Streamyx service. It’s pretty easy to get set up at home, and can be done at the same time as your landline. Visit TM for more information.
TELEKOM MALAYSIA (TM) BRANCHES IN KUALA LUMPUR
5, Ibusawat Statik Brickfields,
Jln Tun Sambanthan,
50470 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-2274 9494 G, Wisma Telekom,
Jln Desa Utama,
Pusat Bandar Taman Desa,
58100 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-7981 9494
4, Ibusawat Telefon Tdi,
Jln Leong Yew Koh,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-7727 9393
G, Blok A Plt Ctx,
54100 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-2020 6611
1, Telekom Bukit Mahkamah,
Jln Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-2079 6325
Fax: 03-2031 4460
1, Jln Dato Haji Eusoff,
50400 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-4041 9191
1, Blok 154 Kompleks Maluri,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-9285 9292
00, Trafik Dan Kedai,
53200 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-4024 2566
1, Jln Kampung Attap,
50460 Kuala Lumpur,
Kuala lumpur tel: 03-2273 0033
(For a complete list of branches throughout Malaysia, visit http://www.tm.com.my/)
Pre-Paid Handphone Service Providers
Area Code Company Website
012 Maxis www.maxis.com.my
013 Celcom www.celcom.com.my
016 Digi www.digi.com.my
017 Maxis www.maxis.com.my
019 Celcom www.celcom.com.my
Internet Service Providers
Telekom Malaysia International Direct Dial Service (IDD)
Enjoy clear and superior quality IDD service by dialing direct from your home / office by using Telekom Malaysia’s fixed line telephone service. With our fixed line telephone service, you save the hassle of dialing additional access codes.
Making an International Direct Call
1. Calling from a Telekom Malaysia Fixed Line Telephone
To make an IDD call, you should dial:
* IDD Access Code: 00
* Country Code
* Area Code
* The desired telephone number
For example, to call Tokyo: 00-81-3-1234 5678
Now, with TM’s IDD service, you will enjoy our SINGLE RATE PER COUNTRY tariff for 24 hours everyday. Now, call to your loved ones, friends and business associates in more than 230 countries worldwide when it is most convenient to you. With our IDD service, there are no more barriers to hearing the voices of loved ones or enhancing businesses through real time relationships. Enjoy these attractive New IDD rates for the following services provided by TM:
+ Business and residential Fixed line telephone services
+ Fixed Wireless
+ Ring Ring Card
+ Malaysia Direct via Ring Ring card / Telecard
+ International Freephone
+ TM Audio Conferencing
For more details on the IDD rates, kindly click to http://www.tm.com.my/