TM Reveals Its Intention To Become The Sole National Infrastructure Provider for 5G

In its response to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) public inquiry on spectrum bands allocation for mobile broadband services [pdf], TM has come forward with a rather bold proposal for the imminent 5G era. For starters, the company suggests that the government should not split the spectrum to several operators.
Instead, TM proposes that the whole spectrum should be allocated solely to the company and simultaneously allow it to become the sole national telecommunications infrastructure provider (NTIP) for 5G. By having just one NTIP, TM believes that the industry would be able to obtain a lower cost of ownership since this move apparently able to help eradicate infrastructure and network duplications.
As infrastructure expansion and maintenance would be done completely by TM, the company said that service providers could now focus more on providing the best deals and services to customers. TM further stated that this would ultimately enable consumers to enjoy lower fees, better quality, and wider coverages as well as plenty of services to utilise.

If the government decide to grant TM’s wishes, the company has pledged that it will provide equal and fair opportunities to all providers that want to utilize the infrastructure, via Open Access Wholesale Service arrangements that would be regulated by the authorities.
In the proposal, TM has also provided a variety of reasons why it should be chosen as the sole NTIP. For example, TM claimed that its fibre network currently covered more than 540,000 km and the company also has 4,000 radio access sites although it is not able to fully utilize the wireless network due to spectrum and bandwidth constraints.
Additionally, TM also claimed that it has made large investments into its infrastructures with capital expenditure that is said to be as much as three major mobile operators combined. It also didn’t forget to point out that very few companies in Malaysia are willing to make the huge investments needed for fixed network even though the country has more than 300 Network Facility Provider and Network Service Provider license holders.
TM’s booth at the 5G Malaysia showcase back in April.
Even those who decided to chip in, TM said that these companies apparently tend to focus on urban areas, while at the same time claiming that TM is not choosy as it has deployed broadband network to both rural areas as well as secondary cities. The company has also pointed out that it has a good track record in deploying, maintaining, and operating national-level mission-critical services for the government, broadcasting network, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.
There are still plenty of other details in the 33-pages document which is quite enlightening to read as a general consumer but all in all, the idea is quite simple: TM would construct, operate, and maintain the 5G infrastructure for everyone else to utilize. In many ways, this idea sounds rather similar to the company’s High Speed Broadband (HSBB) project in 2008 as well as its successors, the HSBB2 and Sub-Urban Broadband Project (SUBB).
It goes without saying that it will be interesting to see how everyone is going to react to this bold proposal from TM. We are definitely going to keep a close look at those feedbacks as they come.
(Source: TM via MCMC – [pdf])
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Joker: Oscars 2020 Voters Claim Film is Too Dark; Not Sure if it Should be Celebrated or Banned

Joker premiered at the Venice International Film Festival to overwhelmingly positive responses. Not only did the film receive an eight-minute standing ovation, it also won the festival’s prestigious top prize — the Golden Lion (previous winners include: Roma and The Shape of Water). At the time, it seemed inevitable that Joker would also be celebrated at the 2020 Oscars as well.
And then the film was screened in the US and the entire narrative flipped on its head. While there are loads of American critics who loved the film, there are also many others who found the film too dark and very irresponsible. Some even claimed that the film is a love letter to incels that’ll probably inspire mass shooters. From a wholly celebrated film, Joker became a highly polarising film that has inspired discourse unlike any other film in recent memory.
And it looks like many of the 2020 Oscars voters are kinda on the fence about the film as well. Recently, THR published an article covering Joker takes from more than 20 members of various branches of The Academy. These comments, I think, paint a good picture of the film’s chances at next year’s Academy Awards.
One voter described only as a male Academy member in the producers branch had this to say:

“I saw it in Venice. The trailer had just dropped and there was nothing written about the film yet. I found the craft to be stunning on every level — beautiful photography, design, costumes. All of Todd Phillips’ films are impeccably made. But I deeply despise the movie. It made me feel really uncomfortable. I love [Darren] Aronofsky, [Lars] von Trier, [Michael] Haneke and most movies that really push the boundaries of darkness. But there was a nihilism and narcissism to this movie that left a bunch of us feeling really disturbed, and we had to drink away our discomfort. Warner Bros. has done an exceptional job of marketing the movie, and I respect that they took the Trojan Horse of a superhero movie to make this kind of movie within the studio system — but I don’t know that there is substance at the core of what it is trying to say. It was the first movie in history that was too dark for me.”
A woman from the members-at-large branch, on the other hand, sang praises:
“I saw the film last night at the Landmark with another Academy member, and my stomach was still churning this morning. It made me uncomfortable from the very first frame to the last, but I thought the movie was extraordinary. I didn’t read anything about it beforehand, so I thought I was going to be getting, sort of, Batman. It’s the most outstanding performance I’ve seen in many years — the way he moved, everything, I mean, he’s really a consummate actor, and there’s not a frame he’s not on camera, too. What I don’t understand is what everyone’s all upset about? Just pick up the morning paper and see the asshole that’s running our country if you want to worry about violence. It’s still early, but I can certainly see myself nominating it for best picture. And he has to get nominated, or the actors branch doesn’t know what it’s doing.”

A take from a conflicted man in the producers branch:

“It’s a really impressive film across the board. Joaquin’s performance is undeniably extraordinary. There is nothing new, in terms of the craftsmanship, like how Dunkirk was shot or the sound design of First Man — but still, if you see it in an Imax theater like I did, you can’t deny how well made it is. That all being said, I don’t see any reason why this movie should be out in the universe. There is nothing in it that starts a conversation — it just pours lighter fluid on a conversation that’s staring us in the face every week. But I’m torn, as an Oscar voter, about what to do. The business it’s doing is mind-blowing — ‘Taxi Driver 2’ just opened to almost $300 million worldwide! But I don’t know what’s responsible to do as a voter. If art is not used to start a conversation, and it’s just used to exacerbate something, I’m not sure how beneficial it is. It’s too fresh to know yet what I’ll do with it. I don’t know if it should be banned or it should be given every award!”

A male member of the public relations/marketing branch of The Academy had a very very negative take:

“I thought it was lacking a clear vision and overwrought. This doom-and-gloom style has become tedious. Only [Michelle] Pfeiffer and [Danny] DeVito in [1992’s] Batman Returns have truly balanced dark with light. This one didn’t have a point of view on politics or class, and its depiction of mental illness was irresponsible. Joaquin was so over the top it became irritating. Todd’s song choices were so on-the-nose they seemed offensive and not ironic. Does he not know ‘Send in the Clowns’ is a romantic ballad of regret and not actually about clowns?”
You can click here to read the full list of comments.
To be honest, none of it is really surprising. Over the past 20 years or so, films that are considered “too dark” or “depressing” or “weird,” are rarely celebrated by The Academy. Films like Zodiac and Se7en are considered some of the greatest crime thrillers of all time, but neither of them received Best Picture nominations. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button received an Oscar nomination, but not The Wrestler (also Golden Lion winner) which came out in the same year. Spotlight won the Oscar on the year where Sicario was also released — the Denis Villeneuve picture, by the way, didn’t even get a nod. How did The Theory of Everything get a nomination in 2015 but not Nightcrawler and Gone Girl?
While I hope that Joker receives a much deserved Oscar nomination next year, I’m not holding my breath.
Joker is currently screening in Malaysians cinemas.

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Fortnite Unplayable As Virtual Black Hole Takes Game Offline

With the end Fortnite Season 10, players who try to access the game are greeted black hole and an endless void of black. The game itself is believed to have been knocked offline intentionally as Epic Games is possibly preparing for a grand launch of Season 11.
Initially, Season 10 end date was extended for a week and players could expect Season 11 with “The End” event to kick in right after. As it turns out, Epic Games’ idea of “The End” struck quite literally. It’s not just the game that is affected either; in a move to dramatise the event, streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch are also affected by the event.

On its official Fortnite Twitter account, Epic Games has deleted more than 12,000 of tweets on its Twitter account, leaving the social media platform in the same state: a black hole. Even the game’s Instagram account shows the same thing.
But within the darkness of the void, hides a secret activity. No, seriously. There is a mini-game hidden within the blankness, where players can input the classic Konami secret combination (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) to unlock a Galaga inspired game that allows player to shoot at Fortnite’s fictional fast-food chain Durr Burger’s head for a high score.

At the time of writing, Fortnite has been down for 15 hours now and Epic Games has been keeping mum, the only clues to the next event being random set of numbers appearing around the black hole. As it turns out, those numbers actually spell out a text that reads “I was not alone. Others were outside the Loop. This was not calculated. The moment is now inevitable.”

This is the complete text the numbers mean:
“I was not alone. Others were outside the Loop. This was not calculated. The moment is now inevitable."
— ShiinaBR – Fortnite Leaks (@ShiinaBR) October 13, 2019

In any case, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.
(Source: Fortnite via CNET // Images: Fortnite)
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Xiaomi Submits Patent For Dual Corner Selfie Cameras On Smartphones

Xiaomi recently submitted a design patent for a smartphone design with dual camera selfies at its corners. The patent was first spotted by TigerMobiles and features several images of smartphones sporting different placements of the dual selfie cameras at the top.
As full-screen smartphones designs with pop-up selfie cameras such as the Mi 9T have somehow become the trend, Xiaomi is finding more ways to place the selfie camera.

Specifically, some of the designs depict positions other than the teardrop notch or pop-up camera design. In fact, one design clearly shows the dual sensors located on opposite ends of the phone. While another other suggests that the top bezels could make a comeback.
Admittedly, these designs do look odd at first glance, but given enough time, it’s likely that these designs could become the next trend. In any case, these are just patents, and at the time of writing, it’s unclear if Xiaomi will even act upon these designs for all its future smartphones.
(Source: TigerMobiles via GSMArena // Image: TigerMobiles)
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Apple Watch With LTE Appear On SIRIM Certification

The Apple Watch has been available in Malaysia, but only the non-LTE versions of the wearable. That might soon change, especially if a recent SIRIM of the LTE version of the Apple Watch is to be taken seriously.
The information was discovered by local tipster Kevin Ng TK (@KevinNgTK) and according to him, SIRIM has reportedly certified four Apple Watch devices equipped with LTE capabilities. Specifically, both the 38mm and 42mm variants of the Apple Watch Series 3 are listed, as are the 40mm and 44mm variants of the Apple Watch Series 5.

@Soya_Cincau @LowyatNET My friend told me Maxis is undergoing testing of Apple Watch with LTE version. Looks like Apple is going to bring in LTE version of Apple Watch Series 5 & Series 3 to Malaysia. pic.twitter.com/zbhrWRHOmk
— Kevin Ng TK (@KevinNgTK) October 11, 2019

To recap, the Apple Watch Series 5 launched last month during Apple’s official event. At its launch, the company from Cupertino announced several upgrades to the watch, including its Always-on Retina display while retaining it’s 18 hours battery life.
Unfortunately, there still isn’t any word about the Apple Watch’s pricing and availability in Malaysia. As a point of comparison, the Apple Watch Series 5 LTE starts from US$499 (~RM2,085), while the non-LTE variant starts from RM1749.

On the other hand, the older Apple Watch Series 3 initially launched at a starting price of RM1461 but currently retails for RM849. At the time of writing, Apple has not listed an Apple Watch with LTE connectivity on the local website.
(Source: SIRIM. Thanks for the tips, Kevin Ng TK!)
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Apple Tells TV+ Showrunners To Not Portray China In A Poor Light

Blizzard has had a tough week, with the recent episode with Hearthstone pro player blitzchung. The entire thing caused an uproar because the company’s decision was perceived to be because of its business relations in China. It’s not the only one, as Apple has also been recently revealed to be making business decisions that appease China.
Sources to BuzzFeed News say that in the early days of Apple TV+‘s development, the company’s higher ups advised creators of some shows to “avoid portraying China in a poor light”. The instruction came from Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services; and Morgan Wandell, the company’s head of international content development.

This decision isn’t really surprising, according to the report. Apple commonly goes out of its way to avoid getting into trouble with the Chinese government. This applies to TV shows as much as it does apps. For the latter, the company’s transparency report says that it received 56 removal requests for apps on the App Store. Of those, only two were challenged, which resulted in 517 apps getting removed from the App Store.
There’s no denying that China is a huge market for the entertainment industry. This is especially true for Apple, as its iPhones not only sell well there, but are also made there to be sold worldwide.
(Source: BuzzFeed News, Apple)
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Apple Watch With LTE Appear On SIRIM Certification; Lists The Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5

The Apple Watch has been available in Malaysia, but only the non-LTE versions of the wearable. That might soon change, especially if a recent SIRIM of the LTE version of the Apple Watch is to be taken seriously.
The information was discovered by local tipster Kevin Ng TK (@KevinNgTK) and according to him, SIRIM has reportedly certified four Apple Watch devices equipped with LTE capabilities. Specifically, both the 38mm and 42mm variants of the Apple Watch Series 3 are listed, as are the 40mm and 44mm variants of the Apple Watch Series 5.

@Soya_Cincau @LowyatNET My friend told me Maxis is undergoing testing of Apple Watch with LTE version. Looks like Apple is going to bring in LTE version of Apple Watch Series 5 & Series 3 to Malaysia. pic.twitter.com/zbhrWRHOmk
— Kevin Ng TK (@KevinNgTK) October 11, 2019

To recap, the Apple Watch Series 5 launched last month during Apple’s official event. At its launch, the company from Cupertino announced several upgrades to the watch, including its Always-on Retina display while retaining it’s 18 hours battery life.
Unfortunately, there still isn’t any word about the Apple Watch’s pricing and availability in Malaysia. As a point of comparison, the Apple Watch Series 5 LTE starts from US$499 (~RM2,085), while the non-LTE variant starts from RM1749.

On the other hand, the older Apple Watch Series 3 initially launched at a starting price of RM1461 but currently retails for RM849. At the time of writing, Apple has not listed an Apple Watch with LTE connectivity on the local website.
(Source: SIRIM. Thanks for the tips, Kevin Ng TK!)
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Malaysian Football League Retracts TM Lawsuit

The Malaysian Football League (MFL) today has announced that it has decided to retract its lawsuit against TM. In case you missed it, the lawsuit was filed back in March due to contractual issues between the two parties.
However, the genesis of the lawsuit seemed quite clear since just a few days before it was filed, TM has terminated its sponsorship for MFL after both parties were apparently not able to agree on certain aspects of the deal which was signed in January 2018. Hence, it was not surprising that MFL has demanded a huge chunk of money from TM, in the tune of more than RM 400 million since the latter decide to bail out within two years of their eight-year partnership.

According to the President of MFL, Hamidin Mohd Amin who also held a similar role at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), the decision to retract the lawsuit was made after it was agreed by all the board members of MFL. He also added the move was made in the name of sportsmanship as TM has been a long-time supporter of the local football scene including being FAM and MFL’s partner since 2000 and 2015 respectively.
That being said, MFL who is the operator of Malaysia’s main professional football competitions including Liga Super, Piala Malaysia, and Piala FA, has not yet made any announcement if the biggest telecommunication company in Malaysia is back as the official sponsor for any of its competitions. Guess, this is not the end of the story just yet.
(Source: MFL.)
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Martin Scorsese Doubles Down on Comment: Marvel Movies Have “Invaded” Cinema

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino) has doubled down on his criticisms regarding Marvel Studios’ movies. As part of the panel discussing the future of cinema for the closing night screening of his latest film, The Irishman, at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival, Scorsese once again compared Marvel movies to theme parks. This time around, his comments were far more intense, saying that movie theatres shouldn’t be invaded by these films.
“The value of a film that’s like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel type pictures where the theatres become amusement parks, that’s a different experience. As I was saying earlier, it’s not cinema, it’s something else. Whether you go for that or not, it is something else and we shouldn’t be invaded by it. And so that’s a big issue, and we need the theater owners to step up for that to allow theaters to show films that are narrative films.”
To give you a quick refresher, last week, Scorsese had this to say:
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Now, I love Martin Scorsese. In fact, he still is to this day one of my favourite directors. I also love a lot of his films — particularly Raging Bull and Taxi Driver — a hell of a lot more than I do most Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Scorsese is specifically talking about Marvel Studios’ MCU as it pumps out about 3 movies a year quickly and consistently). However, Scorsese’s comments do feel a little uninformed. The MCU movies, whether you like them or not, are absolutely narrative films filled with character arcs.
There’s also the issue with Scorsese saying that he doesn’t actually watch these movies, which is fine. But if he hasn’t seen a lot of these movies, then how he is able to deduce that they are nothing but amusement park rides? I think most of us would agree that a film like Black Panther is a completely different beast from the likes of say Hobbs & Shaw and Angel Has Fallen.
But I do see where Scorsese’s frustration stems from. The landscape of cinema has drastically changed over the past decade or so. Gone are the days of the “summer blockbuster.” These days, mega-budget movies get released as early as February and stretch all the way to December, leaving very little room for other films to thrive. While micro-budgeted indie movies have managed to find their place among the giants (see Get Out, Hereditary), studios are less inclined to pick up and distribute a $US 140 million film like The Irishman in cinemas, in fear of not making a profit.
It’s a shame that a Martin Scorsese gangster film starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino won’t be getting a wide theatrical release across the globe. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, these type of films would’ve been considered a huge box office draw.
Check out our article discussing 5 MCU films we think Martin Scorsese should watch.
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Should Political Statements be Allowed in Esports?

Blizzard set off a wave of controversy early last week when they made the swift decision to penalise a professional Hearthstone player known as Blitzchung for a political comment made during an interview after he had just won a tournament.
Just to quickly recap the story, Blitzchung was being interviewed on stream after winning a Hearthstone Grandmaster tournament when he spontaneously covered his face with a gas mask and said “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”. At that point, the stream cut to a commercial break and the twitch archive of the interview was later deleted.

In their official response to the incident, Blizzard made the following statement in support of their decision to revoke any prize money won by Blitzchung and instating a 1 year ban from all Hearthstone Grandmaster events:
“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.”
The move by Blizzard drew a large amount of crticism from the gaming community with many calling for a boycott of Blizzard’s products, and the public displeasure has reached the point that even US Senators have gone on the record to criticise Blizzard for their actions. This incident has such far reaching political and economic implications that even mainstream media outlets such as Bloomberg have reported on it.

As for us at Lowyat.net, we would like to avoid discussion of the political implications of Blizzard’s actions for now, and instead take a closer look at the implications that this incident has for the esports scene in general. The questions is: should political statements be allowed in esports?
For many people, the line is clear – esports is a subsection of gaming, and games are an activity which should solely be partaken in for the sake of having fun. Therefore, politics has no place in gaming or esports.
However, the reality of the matter is that in practice, there usually aren’t black and white rules which say that any kind of political statements are strictly forbidden.
Looking through the general rules and & regulations of the average esports tournament, you’ll usually find a clause relating to a player’s code of conduct while participating in the tournament. This code of conduct usually says something along the lines of “the player must not engage in behaviour that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive” – but you’ll rarely find a rule saying that “political statements” are banned outright.
As a matter of fact, even the rule that Blizzard cites to justify the penalty against Blitzchung is written along these same lines. It doesn’t specify that political statements are forbidden, and the rule itself is very much open to interpretation:

Now that Blizzard has already made it’s decision and we have seen the response of the gaming community, we can’t help but wonder Blitzchung would have received the same degree of punishment if he had made a statement regarding any other political issue.
Much like traditional sports and any other industry which receives significant media attention, esports is a platform for players and fans to express themselves, and that expression can very well extend beyond their personalities and towards their beliefs and values. In fact, some could say that all of those things are always intertwined.

The sports industry at large is no stranger to political statements, such as NFL players choosing to kneel during the national anthem, and most recently NBA executives expressing their support for the Hong Kong protestors.
These incidents all receive a great deal of media attention, but the consequences of these political statements are highly inconsistent. Some NFL team owners insist that players who choose to kneel during the national anthem should be fined, while others are mostly ambivalent towards the players actions as long as they don’t affect the player’s performances during actual games.
Perhaps the answer for the dilemma that the esports industry faces can be found in the acceptance speech made by the player that won the title of “Esports Player of the Year” at least years Esports Awards – Dominique “SonicFox” Mclean.
After going up on stage to accept his award, SonicFox made an arguably political statement to close his acceptance speech:
“I’m gay, black, a furry – pretty much everything a Republican hates, and I’m the best esports player of the year I guess.”

The gaming community’s response to the statement was understandably mixed, but the Esports Awards community and other esports organisations and game publishers did not condemn SonicFox for his political statement made live on stage in a moment where he was in the spotlight, representing the esports industry as a whole.
So for now, as far as gamers are concerned, it’s mostly a matter of opinion whether or not political statements should be allowed in esports.
As for the corporations involved in esports, it appears that political statements aren’t a concern unless it happens to be one that could potentially affect their bottom line.
Source: Hearthstone
Featured Image Credit: The Guardian
Image Credits: InvenGlobal, Hearthstone, Kotaku, USA Today
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