Dish­ing out spec­trum fairly

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Short Position -

THE re­cent dis­clo­sure by the Malaysian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Com­mis­sion (MCMC) re­lated to the re­farm­ing of the 700MHz spec­trum is wel­come.

Car­ry­ing out this role is a cru­cial task that has to be done with fair­ness and open­ness.

While the doc­u­ment is out, it is hoped that the process of ap­ply­ing and dish­ing out the spec­trum to in­ter­ested cor­po­ra­tions is ex­e­cuted well; and that any form of lob­by­ing is not en­ter­tained.

The MCMC says the ten­der for the 700MHz spec­trum will be car­ried out through a “beauty con­test” process.

So, in all hopes, the award of the spec­trum will be based on merit, which can be gauged from the re­spec­tive busi­ness or mar­ket­ing plans of the tel­cos, as that can give an in­di­ca­tion of how well the al­lo­cated spec­trum will be used.

Among the cru­cial ques­tions to ask are whether these par­ties are us­ing the spec­trum al­lo­cated to them to the fullest or not; or on the con­trary, whether they are act­ing like rent seek­ers by just leas­ing it out.

The MCMC has re­sorted to a ten­der process in award­ing tele­com spec­trum since the launch of 3G li­cences in 2002. To be fair, the pre­vi­ous spec­trum al­lo­ca­tions by the MCMC had been done in a fair and or­derly man­ner. Hence, it ought to con­tinue do­ing so. In­ter­ested par­ties should re­frain from ag­gres­sive lob­by­ing, which some­times takes place in Malaysia.

The MCMC - which was set up by an Act of Par­lia­ment in 1998, with a man­date to call for ten­ders and as­sign spec­trum to lo­cal tel­cos – should, there­fore, en­sure that there is no slow walk­ing in the ten­der process, and that the cri­te­ria for se­lec­tion is strictly ad­hered to with­out any po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence. It should also do so for the fu­ture lease of the 2,300MHz and 2,800MHz bands.

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