Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has cancelled the order to award communication bands to several companies without a tender.
“Eighteen instruments including the directive and determination for the use of the band spectrum of frequency 700MHz, 900MHz and 2600 MHz were presented to me.
“Based on technical and legal issues as well as the need for transparency, I have ordered the MCMC chairperson to immediately cancel the directive and determination and to review the instruments,” Saifuddin (above) said in a statement.
Wednesday, 03 Jun 2020 12:58 PM MYT
BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — The ministerial directive for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to allocate five firms with spectrum band for mobile internet services without tender violated the ideals of transparent governance, said a federal lawmaker.
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil called Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah’s directive shocking, saying it begged the question of how the firms were selected for the allocations.
“On July 1, 2019, the MCMC commenced a public inquiry process, where several guidelines were proposed, including awardings via tenders, and some technical details such as: 184.108.40.206 An assignment of less than 2×10 MHz spectrum may not be ideal to deliver high data rate and this may affect the ability of operators to achieve the NFCP (National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan) targets and ensure improvements of QoS.
“In addition, in a reply to Altel Communication Sdn Bhd (one of the five spectrum receivers) to MCMC dated August 30, 2019, Altel itself stated that it is best to have one operator i provided with the entire 700 MHz spectrum, to facilitate telecommunication infrastructure to be more coordinated, avoiding waste and to be more fair to all mobile telecommunications service operators,” he said.
Fahmi said the MCMC report dated September 29, 2019 also indicated that the majority of companies that responded had called for a tendering process to be done, with almost no one stating that the 2×5 MHz spectrum block was suitable.
“Unfortunately, the minister’s directive observed that no tender process was carried out or announced, no operator or consortium was given the entire spectrum, and the total 2×5 MHz spectrum block awarded to Altel and Telekom Malaysia did not follow MCMC’s initial views on July 1, 2019 nor MCMC’s September 29, 2019 report,” he added.
Fahmi pointed out that the public was not informed about the fee imposed on the recipients, and said Saifuddin must explain matters.
In his statement, Fahmi asked why the 700 MHz spectrum blocks were provided through a ministerial directive, and not via a consortium that is more efficient.
He also asked about the eligibility criteria for the chosen companies, including their success in building mobile networks, the size of their subscriber base, and specifically why Altel and Telekom Malaysia were given 2×5 MHz spectrum blocks when the MCMC had said this was not ideal.
Fahmi further demanded to know how much the companies will charge, and their plans for their allocated spectrum blocks over the next five years, especially in terms of infrastructure and services.
“I felt called to raise these questions because the 700 MHz spectrum is closely linked to the implementation of the 5G technology and the NFCP programme, which is the future of telecommunications technology, and will surely impact the people.
“If mistakes of the past are repeated, including infrastructures which fail to be built or coordinated, it is the users who would end up losing,” he added.