Week in Review: Mat Rakyat to be the ultimate winner in spectrum race

  • DiGi gets hit by RM20,000 fine for poor customer service
  • Race for more spectrum will be decided by who serves their customer the best

Week in Review: Mat Rakyat to be the ultimate winner in spectrum raceTELCO matters take the spotlight this week and not just because DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd was hit by a RM20,000 fine for not stopping a valued added service called 'Goal Alert/Live' to one of its customers as requested by the customer.
Yes, the telco was DiGi. When contacted by Digital News Asia (DNA), a company spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Media reports on the fine issued by MCMC did not name the telco company, however DNA managed to get the name of the telco in question via a copy of the letter issued to DiGi direct from the regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) itself.

Week in Review: Mat Rakyat to be the ultimate winner in spectrum race

In the letter issued to DiGi on Nov 29, MCMC stated that by not stopping 'Goal Alert/Live' service as requested by one of its customers, the company did not comply with paragraphs 41 and 44 of the Commission Determination On The Mandatory Standards For the Provision of Mobile Content Services.

In addition the telco was also found to be in violation of Section 242 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998) and punishable under the same act with a fine amounting to RM20,000. [To view the letter (in Bahasa Malaysia) in its entirety, click on the image on the right.]

It is important that the public see their regulator at work, protecting their interests. Especially when there is a feeling that because the telcos are such powerful corporate entities (see table below, click to enlarge), the regulator can be swayed to take their side at the expense of Mat Rakyat.
Week in Review: Mat Rakyat to be the ultimate winner in spectrum raceThe occasional slap on the wrist will naturally not assuage any lingering feelings that the regulator is too easy on the telcos but perhaps this is a harbinger of things to come from the MCMC? We can only hope.
Those of you who read our article 'It’s spectrum rebalancing: MCMC on 2.6GHz allocation' would probably have been surprised by the justification given by MCMC chairman Datuk Sharil Tarmizi on awarding the largest portion of the 2.6GHz spectrum to a newcomer in the telco space, Puncak Semangat, which received 40MHz of spectrum versus the 20MHz the other seven players each received.
But as the chart that accompanied that article showed, overall, Puncak still has the smallest amount of spectrum. But the company is the newest telco on the block, so that should not be surprising.
It will be interesting to see how the spectrum picture shapes up a few years from now, i.e. end 2015, when the regulator will re-farm spectrum that it can take back after the period of lease expires for the earliest spectrum given out in the mid-1990s. The ones to be hit the hardest by this are of course the three main telcos: Celcom, Digi and Maxis.
Could Puncak, everyone’s favorite bad boy of the telco space mainly because it is linked to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, be the surprise winner when this re-farming exercise happens?
To do so, Puncak, along with every other telco has three years from 2013 to end-2015 to show that they are doing a great job in serving the consumer and deserve more spectrum. The race is on and the ultimate winner will actually be Mat Rakyat.
Do you agree or do you have a darker theory?

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