Transforming Brunei into a more connected nation
Unified National Networks wins in this year's Asian Telecom Awards.
As an organisation fully owned by the government of Brunei Darussalam, Unified National Networks (UNN) aims to serve the country’s needs in digital telecommunications by offering wholesale telecommunication services to both national and international clients, helping them build better digital lives and businesses.
With UNN aligning their company decisions and initiatives towards this goal, they have set out to provide coverage across the whole country whilst also providing high-speed internet access to Brunei’s residents. This has earned them the Telecom Company of the Year - Brunei Award at the 2023 Asian Telecom Awards.
The awards programme recognises the efforts of Asia’s telecom companies in navigating challenging market conditions through their initiatives to offer innovative products or engage in revolutionary ways to bring success to their operations. UNN was able to distinguish themselves from their competition by increasing baseline speed and upgrading existing network infrastructure to facilitate the transition into a more digital economy.
In terms of fibre service delivery, UNN has been able to successfully expand their coverage to 92% of the households in Brunei, with the company planning to completely cover the country with the fibre network by 2024 which will result in the copper network’s decommissioning. The copper network has been eyed for a replacement since the spike in cable theft during the pandemic that disrupted services for people working at home.
To support the increased adoption of online learning modes within the country, UNN together with its telecommunication partners in Brunei provided data access beyond quotas to the Ministry of Education.
For fixed broadband services, the company states that the household penetration rate has increased from 51.1% to 70% within a year, with the most recent data showing that it has reached 85% by the end of 2022. A reduction in wholesale tariffs has facilitated the affordability of retail services in the market. And in November 2022, UNN together with four other telecommunications companies signed agreements to invest in a submarine cable system in Southeast Asia aimed to boost data capacity in the SEA region and upgrade local capacities.
Fixed broadband speeds have also been raised as an effort to provide better service, with the baseline clocking in at 50 Mbps to all subscribers in 2022. UNN is expected to launch 1Gbps broadband access to further improve network connectivity by the third quarter of 2023.
Mobile data speed has also increased by almost 200% to 54.4Mbps from 30.9Mbps in one year, with 90% of the country (urban and sub-urban areas) already covered for mobile services that are 5G-ready. UNN has also deployed new sites in rural locations to extend mobile network coverage and replace obsolete infrastructure, providing connectivity for previously inaccessible locations. The latest February 2023 Global Median Speed reports from Ookla revealed that Brunei is currently number 1 in ASEAN and number 16 in the world surpassing Singapore (ranked 19th) – indicative of UNN’s efforts towards modernising the mobile network infrastructure to accommodate the increasing mobile data traffic in the next 5 years.
A number of services and products have been launched by UNN within the past years, such as the launch of IoT services – UNN Pentest-as-a-Service in January 2023, UNN DDoS Defence in February 2022, and UNN Infrastructure-as-a-Service in December 2021 and the establishment of its Cyber Defence Centre (CDC) to provide training and enhance the human resource capacity of UNN by helping in the identification, prioritisation, and protection and security of all information and information systems against all cybersecurity threats, crimes, and frauds. Most recently, on 08 March 2023, UNN signed with Vertiv Asia to design and construct eco-efficient data centre infrastructure to meet Brunei’s increasing digital needs.
UNN has also completed the rigorous process of obtaining the ISO27001 certification. The certification provides a framework for implementing an effective ISMS, improving UNN's security posture, enhancing customer confidence, and improving third-party relationships. With this certification, UNN demonstrates its commitment to information security and regulatory compliance, setting itself apart as a leading institution in Brunei Darussalam.
The Asian Telecom Awards is presented by Asian Telecom Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for delivering cutting-edge, award-winning telco products and services to customers, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].