Cisco calls for deregulation in M'sian telco sector

Networking solutions provider Cisco Systems urged Malaysia to completely deregulate the telecommunications industry to attract more foreign investments in this sector.

KUALA LUMPUR--Networking solutions provider Cisco Systems urged Malaysia to completely deregulate the telecommunications industry to attract more foreign investments in this sector.

Its Asia operations vice president Gary Jackson said on Thursday that deregulation in Singapore and Hong Kong had made their respective telco sectors more competitive, able to offer better telecom services such as Internet Protocol (IP)-based telephony services and broadband connectivity.

Meanwhile, countries like China, he said, was pushing aggresively into the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) sector. Other countries where Cisco's networking solutions could find a home are Taiwan and India--two countries with huge market opportunities for the networking company.

Jackson added other potential growth areas are Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Asked how is Cisco countering the slacking economy and weak demands for its networking products, he admitted that the company had not escaped the effects of the slowdown.

"Overall business growth has been substantially slow," Jackson said.

"However, we aim to grow market share in areas like the optical networking sector, an area where we are not a market leader yet," he said.

Jackson said Nortel Networks is currently the market leader in optical networking products.

He also added that the AP market is a significant revenue contributor to Cisco and the company will invest "heavily" in the region.

The AP theater including Japan contributed an average of 18 percent to 19 percent to Cisco's total revenue, which was US$18.9 billion for its last fiscal year.

Touching on Malaysia, Jackson said Cisco's IP phone and wireless products were made at its Asia manufacturing plant in Penang.

"The demands for our IP phones are very strong, with 500,000 units shipped last month alone from Penang to all parts of the world," Jackson claimed.

On a related issue, Cisco Systems Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Shaifubahrim Saleh said the company had received a confirmation letter from Multimedia Development Corporation approving its MSC-status company application.

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