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Have plan by end-June, cellular operators told Domestic roaming: MCMC to report on progress

05 Jun 2002, New Straits, Cindy Yeap
Cellular telephone operators have been told to come up with a plan for domestic roaming by end of the month, paving the way for wider cellular coverage for all mobile phone subscribers regardless of their respective service providers. "I do not anticipate the actual implementation of domestic roaming yet, but I do anticipate them producing actual plans with a specific timeframe on when they will introduce it," Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said yesterday. Domestic roaming once implemented will increase coverage and reception of the services provided by the operators, curb infrastructure duplication and under-utilisation, and reduce costs of setting up new telecommunications infrastructure that run into millions of ringgit. It allows the infrastructure of one operator to be used by a rival operator to boost its service coverage area and reception. "Once fully implemented, all cellular operators will have identical coverage and will have to fight for subscribers by branding and customer service alone," an analyst said. Leo Moggie said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will make sure the operators come up with a commercial agreement. "I understand there will be some technical adjustments and commercial discussions. "(But) if we just wait for companies to come up with an agreement, it can take a bit too long. The MCMC will report the progress and timetable (for implementation) by end of this month," Leo Moggie said, noting that domestic roaming is the only effective way of ensuring infrastructure sharing. "Domestic roaming is a way of forcing infrastructure sharing," he said at a press conference after attending the second National Technopreneur Advisory Committee Meeting in Cyberjaya yesterday. He said the committee has decided to boost the quality of the country's incubators by introducing a new 'cluster' model that pools all relevant resources in a specific field to one place to maximise knowledge building and utilisation. "We have identified three to four incubators, one each in the central and northern part, and one in east Malaysia," he said, adding that the exercise will take its form within the next three to four months. It is understood that the identified incubators will have a specific field of expertise and the relevant incubatees will be encouraged to move to the specific incubator to enjoy better nurturing. For instance, Kulim High-Tech Park may be the designated incubator for technology or computer aided design give the nature of most of its current expertise being in that area. Leo Moggie said the Government wants incubators to be transformed from being a mere facility management centre to a strong venture, research and sales network facility. "There is a need for a more systematic approach so that the incubates entrepreneurs are guided and mentored until they can survive on their own. We do not want incubators to only be a place where incubates rent a space and left alone to fend for themselves," he said.
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