DTTB: Telcos wary of Puncak Semangat’s 700MHz play: Page 2 of 2

DTTB: Telcos wary of Puncak Semangat’s 700MHz play: Page 2 of 2Spectrum roadmap visibility needed
In response to Digital News Asia’s (DNA) query on this, the MCMC played it safe with its response: “As the Digital Dividend spectrum will be freed up after the Analogue Switch Off, the relevant provisions under the Act will be taken into consideration in assigning this spectrum and the method of assignment will be determined at that time.”
The ‘Act’ in question refers to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
To Sigve Brekke (pic above), executive vice president and head of Telenor Asia, the preference is for bidding but he recognises that each country will take its own approach.
What he wants above all else is visibility of the roadmap in Malaysia, “it is not clear for us what is the future roadmap for spectrum [in Malaysia],” and transparency, he told DNA recently.
“If it will be via a beauty contest, then it must come with clear criteria,” said Brekke, who also sits on the DiGi board as chairman.
According to him, as telcos head into the data era of their industry, where even the bottom of the pyramid market is now demanding data, managing spectrum requirements is going to become much more sophisticated.
“Operators need spectrum in the various bands – it is not enough to have a lot in one or two bands. Our point to the regulator: Provide us an entire spectrum map and we would like a bit across all the bands. That is the most efficient way of using data,” he said.
DTTB: Telcos wary of Puncak Semangat’s 700MHz play: Page 2 of 2Brekke highlighted the 700MHz and 800MHz bands as extremely important for DiGi to get a hold of.
Meanwhile, Altel chief executive officer Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Yaacob (pic) is all for the beauty contest approach to allocating spectrum in the 700MHz band.
“To the best of our knowledge, the MCMC has never chosen the route of spectrum auction and the industry is not expecting it to change this position in the near future,” he said.
The auction approach, according to Nik Aziz, “is an opportunity for players to present innovative business plans that offer better services while competing with the incumbents.”
Highlighting the negative aspects of the auction model, Nik Aziz pointed out that “new innovative players with no legacy network will not be facing a level playing field in competing with established carriers with deep pockets.”
He also highlighted the hefty price of spectrum acquisition that would impact both the telco and ultimately its customers.
“This could cause unnecessary curtailing of innovative product and services, and competitive packages for consumers. Consequently, this might mean lower take-up and delayed deployment and rollout, especially in areas which might have a longer payback – thus not benefiting the masses,” he said.
Previous Instalment: Digital terrestrial TV tender: So what’s up, really?
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