Big 3 support call to lower broadband charges: MCMC

  • Axiata (Celcom), Digi and Maxis to work with industry regulator
  • MCMC conducting review of telecommunication retail rates

Big 3 support call to lower broadband charges: MCMCSERVICE providers are supportive of Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek’s call for more affordable broadband prices, according to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Dr Halim Shafie (pic).
 
Halim, who last week pledged to have more engagement with the industry regarding price regulation, recently chaired his first meeting with the chief executive officers (CEOs) of service providers since taking office in January.
 
“The industry shares the concerns of the Minister and will work with the MCMC during the consultation process to address the issue of communication affordability, particularly among the lower income population,” Halim said in a statement issued by the MCMC.
 
“This is a positive response from the industry and [we] hope that the support of industry CEOs will speed up the consultation process,” he added.
 
The meeting was attended by the CEOs of Axiata (which owns Celcom), Digi and Maxis.
 
Last month, Ahmad Shabery urged telecommunication companies to offer broadband packages at a cheaper price so that more people could enjoy their services.
 
He said the cost of telecommunication handling had dropped because companies such as Telekom Malaysia (TM) and TIME dotCom were selling optical fibre wholesale to telecommunication companies at a cheaper price.
 
Halim was later reported as saying that the industry regulator would be conducting a review of telecommunication retail rates, and would be working with the industry to develop affordable broadband packages.
 
TM, a government-linked company, is the largest telco in Malaysia, and owns most of the telecoms infrastructure in the country. It offers two broadband packages, UniFi and Streamyx, and late last year launched its own wireless Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service called TMgo in the states of Kedah and Melaka.
 
It is also expected to launch full mobile services by the end of this year. It is not known if any representative of the company attended the meeting with the MCMC.
 
Meanwhile, Axiata group CEO Jamaludin Ibrahim expressed his support, saying that the measure to lower service charges would be advantageous to the industry in the long run.
 
Digi chief operating officer and CEO-designate Albern Murty also expressed support, adding that: “Our aspiration of delivering the ‘Internet For All’ is rooted on the principle of affordable access for broadband and mobile Internet services.”
 
Maxis CEO Morten Lundal concurred, and said: “There is a fundamental change in the way we are using the Internet today, and Maxis is in full support of having affordable mobile services which will help complement that change.”
 
The first MCMC meeting with CEOs this year also discussed several important issues such as quality of service and the future direction of the industry, focusing on innovation and content to enrich the user experience, the MCMC said.
 
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