PETALING JAYA: Interconnection rates should be fixed at 3 sen per minute for calls between fixed-line and mobile networks and this has to be implemented as soon as possible, according to Information, Commu-nications & Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim in his directive to the industry regulator.
This information is part of a nine-point Minister’s Directive 2/2010 that is issued to the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The directive, dated April 28, was only posted on the MCMC website on Tuesday.
Other than the 3 sen issue, the minister also wanted broadband and high-speed broadband rates reduced, international cable termination rates cut and Astro radio services be made available via satellite in Sabah and Sarawak.
This directive has come as a surprise to many players who have not seen such a directive made public before and they are wondering why it is done now.
“This is the first time the Minister’s Directive is posted on the website. There is transparency and he wants so many things done fast. We know there are many issues still unresolved but the way the directive is worded, it appears that the minister is in a hurry to get a lot of it resolved.
“All of this is good as there are many unresolved issues in the industry. However, whatever is done should benefit all parties and not one or two players only,” said a player from the industry.
Paying 3 sen for a call from a fixed-line network to a mobile network or vice versa is good compared with the earlier rates of 8.36 sen (from fixed line to mobile) and 6.07 sen (mobile to fixed line) previously. The question is who will benefit more from this exercise?
“These are all wholesale pricing between the operators but we reckon it will benefit the bigger players more than the smaller ones. It is a volume game,” the player added.
Will the reduction of wholesale rates be reflected in lower pricing of calls for consumers?
“Eventually that is what we are getting at but it will depend on whether the players want to pass the benefit to consumers,” said another player.
Under the directive, the minister also wanted the one million laptops meant for distribution to students be fitted with WiFi and WiMAX connectivity and they should be priced below RM1,000 a unit.
Rais also wanted discussions between Astro and MCMC be undertaken to transmit radio services in Sabah and Sarawak using satellite broadcast technology.
As for stolen or lost mobile phones, he said he wanted greater enforcement on this issue and a resonable blocking fee. He also called for a review of the effectiveness of e-kiosk.
On the issue of the Universal Service Provision, Rais urged the MCMC to change the rules on usage of its fund so that it could fix the benchmark pricing with regards to the clawback provision by companies that contributed to the fund.
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