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MCMC: Convergence of mindset a big challenge

17 May 2002, Yvonne Chong, The Star
One of the biggest challenges towards convergence in telecommunications industry is the changing of mindset among the players, according to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Its chairman, Tan Sri Nuraizah Abdul Hamid, said that since the end of 1998, institutional changes had been made to facilitate convergence in Malaysia, including the formation of the commission and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA). "But if there is no convergence in the mindset (among the industry players), there would be no convergence," she said at the three-day Asia Pacific Forum on Telecommunication and Regulation in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. With the regulations and laws in place, the next step was to get the industry to think in the new converged sector and have them break down the industry boundaries they had been used to, MCMC head of industry development division Bistamam Siru Abdul Rahman said after presenting a paper at the forum. "Today, competition is no longer about competition within the telecommunications or broadcast market, but rather within every level of each market from the facilities, network services and application service perspective," he said. Bistamam said there would be consolidation in the telecommunications industry but MCMC did not see the consolidation to necessarily be in the form of mergers. "Because of the licensing framework under CMA, network operators can merge their network services while still operating as different companies, have different sets of customers and their own customer loyalty programmes," he said. He noted the concerns of the players in balancing their own priorities, in terms of investments they have laid and current strategic advantage, against that of convergence to provide better services, as "a chicken and egg situation." "It is our intention to allow voluntary codes of conduct to come into being," Bistamam said. The consumer and content forums have been successfully established and the draft code is currently in public consultation while the technical standards forum is also close to being established. The access forum is also expected to be formed soon.
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