M'sia to consider opening broadband sector

Malaysia will consider opening up the broadband wireless market to more players to facilitate the introduction of Third Generation (3G) mobile services in the country.

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia will consider opening up the broadband wireless market to more players to faciliate the introduction of Third Generation (3G) mobile services in the country.

Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Leo Moggie today said the ministry is currently studying the various recommendations on the issue and will come up with a decision by this year.

As it is, the last mile access service for wireless broadband access is limited to the licensed mobile network operators namely Maxis Communications, Telekom Malaysia, Celcom, DiGi and Time dotCom.

"There are recommendations that we should not restrict the access market for wireless broadband. If we allow more people to provide the service, then more people will invest into building the infrastructure for 3G," Moggie told a press conference after launching the eBusiness Ownership 2001 Conference here today.

However, Moggie said while service providers may have the capacity to provide 3G services, the demand for such service is questionable because of the lack of relevant wireless broadband content in the market.

"Currently, the 2.5 G infrastructure is already in place but it has not been fully utilized. Looking at the current market response to wireless broadband, our move into 3G will only take place in 2003," he said.

Many quarters have recommended that Malaysia loosen its rigid telecommunication sector in light of developments in the world telco scene where deregulation is seen as the key to speed up implementation of news services at affordable levels to the public.

Networking equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems on July 12, had recently urged Malaysia to completely deregulate the telecommunications industry to attract more foreign investments in this sector.

Its Asia operations vice president Gary Jackson said then 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.

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