Aftersales support for original SmartTAG to end on June 30, 2018

Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd has announced that the SmartTAG OB330 units (pictured on the right) will no longer be supported by aftersales services. These are the older units which were larger than the current ones on sale. According to the company, the OB330 units have been in the market for more than 10 years and replacement parts are now running out, with some parts no longer available. OB330 units that have been sent in to Touch ‘n Go for repairs will still be repaired but units will not be accepted after June 30, 2018.

The original unit was designed and developed in Malaysia with intellectual property rights held by an Austrian company that formed a joint-venture with UEM.

Motorists can still continue to use the SmartTAG if it is serviceable and indeed, many have found it to be more reliable than the current ones which had quality issues when they were introduced some years ago.

Though more compact, users were frustrated by the new slim units not working and delaying them at toll plazas. Of the four units that our staff have had, only one – purchased in the past year – has performed reliably. The others have had to be repaired or replaced under warranty. However, the problems seem to have been rectified now.

As a replacement for the PLUS TAG, the original SmartTAG (‘Smart’ refers to Sistem Membayar Automatik Rangkaian Tol) was introduced in 1999. It was designed, developed and manufactured by Teras Teknologi Sdn Bhd. The intellectual property rights for the system, however, belong to an Austrian company.

Some lanes at toll plazas have RFID lanes for testing the new system but its implementation date is still not known.

When a Touch’nGo card is installed, the SmartTAG communicates with transceivers mounted over the designated lanes at toll plazas, making it unnecessary for the vehicle to come to a stop. The system is said to be able to process up to 1,200 vehicles per hour. However, newer RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology which process vehicles more reliably and at a higher speed is now being tested by some highway concessionaires which have set up lanes that can work with RFID units.

Although implementation was supposed to have been early this year, there has been no further news on the matter. In any case, conversion of toll plazas to use RFID technology will have to be in phases and the concessionaires will also have to consider that there is a huge number of motorists who will still be using the infrared SmartTAG. Unless they are given special incentives to replace their units with new RFID units, they would be reluctant to spend money to buy new units.

[Chips Yap]