And it has retained its interest in the power of the internet to radically change business models.
So it was very pleased to be invited by its old friend Colin Skellett, chairman of YTL Utilities (UK), to the launch of YES, the world’s first converged 4G service.
In a sign of the growing importance of emerging economies, this involved Malaysia’s YTL, rather than one of the Western companies. But it will hopefully come to prove very disruptive to their established business models. The key factor is that YTL are a new entrant into the Malaysian market, so they have no existing business to defend.
Instead, they offer mobile phone and broadband coverage in one bill on a ‘pay as you go’ basis that requires no SIM card. International calls can also be made at local rates, with video links via PC included. And its free Yes Life feature enables address books to be accessed via phone or PC.
YTL’s Silicon Valley style launch thus claimed to be offering a new type of mobile service, combining the best features of the iPhone, Skype and other innovators. Sadly, for the moment, it is only available via Malaysia.
But hopefully either YTL, or others, will find a way of offering it more globally. As with eBusiness in the chemical industry, once you’ve seen it, you don’t want to go back to the old model.