Friday, December 28, 2012

Smartphone Rebate : Why the Fuss?

In the wake of criticism, unjustified I must add, the MCMC came out with a press release reported by Bernama, "SMARTPHONE RM200 REBATE FOR YOUTH AND RM1,000 GRANT FOR ONLINE ENTREPRENEURS TO START ON 1 JANUARY 2013: MCMC".

All if not most of the criticism levelled at a government initiative is addressed by MCMC.

It is always sad when efforts by the government for a desired goal, in this case to broaden the internet reach specifically among the youth, are seen in a skeptical and suspicious manner.

It is alright if criticisms are to improve the mechanisms in implementation. These are welcome.

But in finding fault for a political angle, anyone can throw all sorts of unwarranted insinuations, just to slate the goverment.

Malaysiakini, as is always the case as a frontline opposition mouthpiece, does just that, "RM200 rebate only for smartphones below RM500" and "Unhappy netizens mock RM500 smartphone criteria"

Salient points in the government initiative can be summed up by excerpts in the MCMC press release,
"Whilst the Youth Communication Package is a scheme implemented by the celcos, this initiative, coordinated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), was announced by the Prime Minister as part of Budget 2013 tabled in September this year to encourage more youths especially those in rural areas to enjoy the nation’s broadband facilities.

The idea is to spread the incentive across to those who do not yet use smartphones. We really want to help those who cannot afford to change phones to upgrade from their old 2G phones to a basic 3G smartphone. Those who can afford phones priced above RM500 are really not in the intended category or target market.
If is that is not clear enough then go ahead and criticise and politicise, for no good reason, taking an opposition stance and point of view.

Digital News Asia came out with "The smartphone rebate just got stupider" with reasons just as stupid as the title,
"I am hoping that this is a mistake, because as it stands now, if you’re between 21 and 30 years old, and you just got a job that pays you that much – and your parents are well-heeled executives earning 10 times your salary – not to worry, you poor thing. You too qualify.

And since that RM500 is just pocket money to you, you can beat out that poor guy whose entire family earns less than RM3,000 per month – if only because by the time he saves up the money to buy the device and subscribe to a data plan, it will be 2014. Or that RM300 million allocation would have run out"

What in heaven is the writer talking about?

Obviously, when "your parents are well-heeled" you would not give even a second glance to any smartphone below the RM2K bracket.

Only a greedy affluent household where "RM500 is just pocket money" will take advantage and abuse this opportunity otherwise meant for those targeted by the government and explained by MCMC.

The writer should not be so lazy and make statements like "Finding a smartphone priced at below RM500 (US$163) is going to be a feat in itself"

The same goes for comments coming out like those expressed in Malaysiakini. Don't be surprised if these commenters are those who have the very latest and priciest smartphones in the market.

Where pricing is concerned, smartphone models have been stated in the MCMC press release.

A simple google search on 3 models, of notable brand names, came out with the following.

Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 in Malaysia Price, Specs & Review

Entry level Sony Xperia tipo now available at RM499

Nokia Lumia 610 (8GB, Black, iPmart Warranty)

Surely as seen above, for "those who cannot afford to change phones to upgrade from their old 2G phones to a basic 3G smartphone especially those in rural areas to enjoy the nation’s broadband facilities", they will be a very, very happy lot indeed.

Thanks to the government.

Enuff said.

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