Friday, December 14, 2012

Tony Pua's 4G-LTE Crash

Anyone or everyone having a handphone, smartphones and tablets will tell you the service presently provided by telcos, without any exception, leaves much to be desired.

Grouses such as bad internet connection, slow download speeds for smartphones and tablets (even laptops).

Dropped calls and unconnected calls being charged for handphones, smartphones and tablets.

The Star reported, "Hello! My call has dropped", a survey was carried out by the Union Network International-Malaysian Liaison Council (UNI-MLC) found more cellphone users are complaining about dropped calls.

The UNI-MLC president, Shafie BO Mammal, went on to say that the issue was not a new issue and questioned what the telecommunications companies were doing and that was time for telcos to upgrade their system.

Interestingly, as reported, an Information, Communications and Culture Ministry official, who declined to be named, said dropped calls could actually benefit local companies because they could make more money as consumers would have to make another call.

What it means is the public are losing money, a lot of money.

Just consider that in 2008 it was forecasted that the number of subscribers would be 28.5 million by 2010!

A more recent article, although not stating the exact numbers, says that recent government census puts mobile phone penetration rate in Malaysia as of Q3 2011 at a whopping 124.7%; that means there are more mobile phones than there are people in Malaysia.

And losing a lot money is a current issue.

Which brings us to opposition DAP MP Tony Pua.

The latest noise coming out from MP Tony Pua is the awarding 4G-LTE spectrum to eight companies but specifically lambasting Malaysian communications and multimedia regulator, Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for awarding a "bigger" share of the spectrum to Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd and auction farce.

This is typical opposition antics needing to find fault and raise issues even after questions, in all or most aspects, had been duly addressed and answered.

In this case, despite the fact that MCMC chairman, Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, had given reasons and rationales behind the awarding as reported by The Sun, The Edge, online news portal Free Malaysia Today and Malysiakini.

Digital News Asia has a very comprehensive report on the 4G LTE award excercise. A chart from the report is reproduced to see the other 7 telco and total share of the spectrum.

From all the reports even a layman can understand the grounds underpining the award by MCMC to all the 8 telcos - spectrum balancing, improvement and optimisation of service, innovation, tehnological advancement, competition, infrastructure, network sharing and more.

The impression being given is that Puncak Semangat was given a large chunk of the spectrum without any basis or ulterior.

Mohamed Sharil openly justified the "bigger" share allocated to Puncak Semangat and had even given an assurance of recourse should the telco or telcos fail in their undertakings.

In fact The Edge reported the MCMC having fined telcos, such as YTL E-Solutions Bhd and Redtone International Bhd, for reasons of failures and compliance.

If Tony Pua questions even after questions have been answered, one is also able rebut his rhetorics.

For example in the matter of auctions it is not all hunky dory. In Thailand, "Graftbusters to investigate NBTC over 3G auction" and India, "2G spectrum auction flops; less than Rs. 10K crore bids received" or even in the UK -"The 4G windfall has long been expected to raise considerably less then 3G as carriers complained they over-paid for 3G frequencies, and have had a tougher time making money from mobile data."

Given the level of vilification by Tony Pua of MCMC in the award excercise, and there having been no complaints from the other established telcos, the conclusion is it is another empty opposition anti-government propaganda.

Tony should not be so cantankerous about the 4G-LTE which will be beneficial in and for the future.

Rather, DAP Tony Pua would be more appreciated if he made a bigger noise against those telco giants, who are presently seen to be milking the public of their hard earned money by the millions of ringgit, as a lesson and deterrent for that future.

The thankful public might even call him, "God".

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