BFM Media Sdn Bhd (“BFM”), operator of radio station BFM 89.9, became the first Malaysian company to launch an Apple iOS app that works with CarPlay, Apple’s car dashboard operating system. CarPlay, which Apple has positioned as the “ultimate copilot”, allows drivers of CarPlay-enabled cars to port a select group of iOS apps on their iPhone to their car’s built-in display. With Siri Voice and other car model-specific dashboard and steering wheel controls, drivers can access CarPlay apps to get directions, make calls, send messages and listen to audio content, all in a way that allows them to stay focused on the road.
With this launch, BFM joins global content platforms such as Spotify and Pandora. Stitcher and Apple’s own native apps Podcasts and Music, to offer audio content to drivers and passengers of car models that offer the Apple CarPlay car dashboard operating system. BFM CarPlay app allows car drivers to listen to a live stream of BFM’s radio shows as well as podcasts of recent shows. Drivers will also be able to listen to their own playlist on the BFM CarPlay app.
“We look forward, over time, to the increasing proliferation of CarPlay among car makes, models and standalone car entertainment systems in Malaysia. With greater penetration of CarPlay, more and more car drivers and passengers outside of the Klang Valley will have access to BFM’s engaging discussions with thought leaders on the economy, business and nation-building despite BFM not being available on FM radio in their area”, remarked Malek Ali, managing director of BFM. The BFM CarPlay app was developed for BFM by Snappymob, an iOS and Android app development company based in Malaysia. BFM has worked with Snappymob to develop its iOS apps since 2016.
Whilst most of BFM’s current listeners are listening to BFM through their traditional car radio FM receiver, BFM’s current FM transmission on 89.9 MHz is restricted to the Klang Valley. Numerous applications to the industry regulator, Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM), for FM frequencies to transmit in other urban centres in Malaysia have been rejected on the basis of unavailable frequencies (at least for BFM).
CarPlay allows BFM to bypass the FM frequency transmission restrictions to reach car drivers in other parts of Malaysia, as well as globally. All that is needed is an iPhone with a data connection to the internet, and an Apple CarPlay-enabled car model. To encourage the the usage of the BFM CarPlay app, BFM has worked with mobile telcos U Mobile and Digi to whitelist the BFM Carplay app so that no data charges are incurred when using it. All U Mobile customers and Digi Prepaid LiVE and Digi Broadband plan customers benefit from this suppression of data charges when using the BFM CarPlay app.
BFM is currently in the testing phase with Maxis to offer the same benefit to Maxis customers too. The full list of car makes and models in Malaysia that offers CarPlay are listed in the attached schedule. Some car makes offer CarPlay as an option, whilst others include it as part of their standard car offering.
Car models offering CarPlay in Malaysia include: Honda Civic 2016/2017, Honda Accord 2017, BMW (add-on option) for 1 Series, 2 Series Coupé and Convertible, 3 Series, 4 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, X3, X4, X5, X6, M2, M3, M4, X5M, X6M and M6, Mercedes Benz all models (add-on option), Volkswagen Passat and Tiguan (add-on option), Volvo XC90 and V90 (add-on option) and Chevrolet (selected models).