Friday, December 03, 2010

YES .... something still ain't right

Something was amissing in Rocky's Thursday column on The Malay Mail.

Yes, the telco bosses shouldn't be grinning to widely because services are poor and they should stop being apologetic.

Yes, those parties fumbling the ball on the YTL 700 MHz Spectrum issue got an earful from the Prime Minister. When Najib said he wanted "proper process", he meant that Dato Rais Yatim, his Ministry and it's little Napolean, and MCMC has temporarily lost the power to issue license. With cabinet taking over their power, it is one big slap in the face for Rais and his coterie of bureaucrats.

But, Rais's official blog did not "quite" deny the 700 MHz spectrum was distributed to various parties. He is being hostile to the press by telling them not to misreport.

The last time he was hostile was when he denied his son was not involved in telecommunication deals. He made a police report against Rocky Bru and INSTRUCTED (meaning there was no report made) MCMC to investigate.

It turned out Rais lied. His son did got involved and there is a lawsuit in court against him. MACC is also investigating.

There is still a shroud of mystery and the under current is suspicious. As Rocky wrote in his column, "No official statement has been issued till today (and no offer to resign as I was hoping for) but what I'd written on my blog has not been denied either."

Sure thing

It doesn't help Rais's cause when The Malaysian Insider's report of Rais's claim he had allayed Telco chiefs' fears comes with a picture of an esctatic Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and a controlled grin Rais at YTL's YES launching.

An extract of MI's report reads:
The country’s telcos have been up in arms ever since MCMC’s chief planning and development officer Toh Swee Hoe told The Edge weekly that YTL Comms will get an apparatus assignment (AA) in the 700MHz for its hybrid television service.

Broadband spectra are now highly coveted by telecommunications and multimedia companies, and the alleged award of the AA in the prized spectrum to YTL Comms has riled the country’s telcos, who say it can be used to offer their services in rural areas.

They fear it would allow a new provider like YTL “a stranglehold over the next wave of new technologies, called Long Term Evolution (LTE) which will power the 4G market”.

YTL Comms has denied that it will repurpose the spectrum for its broadband service, pointing out that it already has the 2.3GHz spectrum and a 20MHz block within the 2.5/2.6GHz spectrum which MCMC recently allocated.
The last para is in concurrent with one source who claimed YTL Comms was given two licences but he insist it was within the 700MHz spectrum.

An analyst report dated October 21st found in the financial blog, My Malaysia Stockfolio is concurrent with the source. An extract reads below:
Its primary target market, at least for the initial phase, is the fixed broadband segment — high-speed Internet access delivered to homes wirelessly. As such, P1’s main competitor is Streamyx.

The company also offers mobile broadband services — Internet access via a USB dongle or WiMAX-embedded laptops and netbooks. However, with limited coverage areas the service is more often termed nomadic broadband rather than true mobility. P1 expects to offer the latter as it continues to widen coverage, targeted to reach 45% of the population by end-2010 and 65% by 2012.

Launching with a bang

By contrast, YTL Comms is planning a nationwide launch, with the claim of 65% population coverage — from 1,000 base stations — right at the outset, and which will increase further to 80% by early 2011. It is reported to have invested about RM1 billion of the estimated RM2.5 billion of planned capital expenditure, to date.

With that level of coverage, it will be able to offer both fixed and mobile voice and broadband services. That means its potential market would include not only the fixed home broadband segment but also heads up against the cellular players in the voice, mobile broadband and mobile Internet (Internet access via handsets) segments.

Aiming for quad play

In fact, YTL Comms aims to go much further. Earlier this month, it inked a licence and service agreement with US-based Sezmi Corporation to deploy hybrid TV — comprising traditional, live over-the-air broadcast as well as over-the-top on-demand online content — in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific.
In case one has no idea of the stock market game and have not come across Edwin Lefevre's classic stock market text, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, analyst reports are usually systematically leaked insider information.

Why would YTL spend RM1 billion to set-up towers to get a nationwide bang for just their Wimax broadband services? Why did YTL Comms signed that agreement with Us based Sezmi Corporation before securing licences?

If one knows YTL, they only gamble on a sure thing.

YTL do not bank big bucks unless there is big bucks coming back. They are not talking paltry, few percent annualised return. Remember the first IPP?

YTL is not unaccustomed to flexing their muscle and influence. Why then would he be investing in non-core businesses in high-end hotel, resort and property development? Is it not to be seen with the rich and famous to cast his charm and philantrophy for the right ROI?

Another source claimed born-again Christian, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh insisted they got the license.

Big Dog was right to be suspicious from the on-set when YTL Comms signed an MOU with RTM and Media Prima to "make Malaysian contect available to the region." RTM is under the purview of Rais.

Shouldn't Rais know about this?

Side step

The earlier source claimed Rais side step the questions posed by Jeff Ooi in Parliament. Read MI's report dated November 30th to figure out where he side stepped Jeff, below:
Rais grilled in Parliament over YTL-700MHz saga

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 – The Najib Administration was forced to stave off continuous accusations of cronyism in Parliament today for its alleged award of the prized 700MHz spectrum to YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YTL Comms).

Information, Communications and Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim manned the fort for a good hour when speaking on the issue and continued to deny that government regulator Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had ever given approval to anyone to operate in the 700MHz band, which can be used for broadcasting or broadband services.

The issue was raised by Jeff Ooi (DAP-Jelutong) in the House when debating a RM10 pay cut motion for Rais, who accused the government of “quietly” awarding the spectrum to YTL Comms, a unit of tycoon Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s YTL property-to-power group.

In his debate speech, Ooi said the alleged award had been shrouded in mystery and reeked of cronyism and lacked transparency.

“It also means that if YTL is awarded the spectrum without fair consideration given to other MCMC licensees in the industry, including Telekom Malaysia, Axiata, Maxis, Digi, Packet One and others. This has become a monopoly and is similar to a 100m race where YTL is give a 50m head-start privilege while the others are left behind.

“Why was YTL given this privilege?” he asked.

He added that without the apparatus assignment (AA) rights, other industry players like Axiata, Maxis and Digi would not be on a level playing field and would likely face a shutdown or be forced to buy bandwidth from YTL.

Ooi dared the ministry to come clean on the issue and questioned if the saga was a mere repeat of the sports betting episode earlier this year when the government flip-flopped on its decision to award a license to tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd.

“I put it to you, Mr Minister, that you as the minister is fully aware that YTL was given the 700MHz spectrum in writing but the Prime Minister was forced to be dragged into this, and forced to do another flip-flop because of objections from Axiata and others?” he charged.

Last May, Tan had told Bursa Malaysia that his Ascots Sports Sdn Bhd had received a letter from the government dated January 13, 2010 that his sports betting licence had been re-issued.

But following the uproar that his announcement had caused and the silence from the government that followed, the licence was eventually rescinded.

In his response today, Rais stressed that the prized spectrum had never been awarded to anyone and claimed that Ooi’s debate was void of facts.

“The 700MHz spectrum was never awarded to anyone. So YB, you should first know the facts before you make such unfounded statements.

“The two spectrum commodities – the 700MHz and 2.6GHz spectrums – are important to help us in the future to compete in the communications sector.

“We have to be aware that the 700MHz spectrum is held by MCMC and is important for our future programmes in the country,” he said.

He added that despite what was reported in Singapore and local media, all allegations were merely “hearsay”.

“So I invite MP Jelutong to attend a briefing with the MCMC. Come and see for yourself where your debate stands.

“It is easy to use such eloquence to accuse MCMC but this should not be done. This is akin to punishing a person before asking the question, instead of asking the question first, and then meting out a punishment.

“I would like to state here that little knowledge is dangerous,” he said.

Ooi interjected at this juncture, pointing out that news of the contentious award of a 80MHz block in the 700MHz spectrum had hit the headlines on November 26.

“But it took MCMC 48 hours to deny it. And why was there a special meeting held between the chiefs of Axiata with the Prime Minister? If there is no wind, the leaves on the tree will not sway,” he said.

Rais continued to deny the rumours, however, and reasoned that the Prime Minister had every right to meet with the telco chiefs.

“I invite you again to check your facts. The 48-hour issue is not the problem. The problem is whether what you say is based on facts or not. So let me repeat the facts – the 700MHz spectrum was not given to anyone,” he said.

Rais admitted to a meeting with the Prime Minister and industry players recently and revealed that it was also attended by the country’s economic adviser.

“But discussions centered on the country’s plans for the future in the communications sector. So in the future, whether or not we choose an auction or to create new rules, what is more important is that we do not lose our source of revenue,” he said.

Rais pledged the government’s intention to incorporate the services of the new players in the telco industry, insisting that none would be left behind.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had directed regulators to review the 700MHz apparatus assignment rights allegedly granted to YTL Comms, following the MCMC’s denial on the matter on Sunday.

In its denial, the regulator had however conceded that it was presently “assessing a detailed business plan by YTL for the roll out of digital pay-TV and not 4G mobile services as reported.

“MCMC would like to reiterate that no spectrum assignment has been issued to YTL of the 700MHz spectrum band for pay-TV broadcasting, hence the reports and commentaries on a spectrum issuance are inaccurate.

“The operating licence issued to them on August 30 is for a content applications service provider individual licence, to provide subscription-based Internet protocol television services using their 2.3GHz WiMAX network,” it said in its statement on Sunday.

Industry sources were tight-lipped over a closed-door meeting between the prime minister and telco executives but The Straits Times reported that Najib had told the MCMC to consult “the private sector before awarding the rights of the 700MHz spectrum”, which is seen as a key component of the 4G high-speed wireless broadband.

He also directed the ministry to complete its review before the end of January, and to submit recommendations on how the government should proceed with the award, executives familiar with the meeting told The Straits Times.

YTL Comms executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Hong had told The Malaysian Insider last week that the company had a five-year concession to operate in the 700MHz band for a pay-television operation competing with the dominant Astro network.

MCMC has regulations on award of spectrum but executives familiar with the process toldThe Malaysian Insider that the regulator had ignored the rules in the recent apparatus assignment exercise for the 700MHz and the 2.5/2.6GHz spectrum recently.

Broadband spectrums are now highly coveted by telecommunications and multimedia companies, and the alleged award of apparatus assignment in the prized spectrum to YTL Communications had seriously upset the country’s telcos who can use it to offer their services in rural areas.

They had feared that it would allow a new provider like “YTL a stranglehold over the next wave of new technologies, called Long Term Evolution (LTE) which will power the 4G market”.

But in its release, the MCMC said: “Under Malaysia’s National Spectrum Plan, the 700MHz spectrum band is allocated for broadcasting service, and not for LTE or 4G mobile services as speculated.”
If you still can't spot Rais side-stepping, download and read the full hansard for the day from the Parliament website here.


Anonymous said...

I pity Rais on all these fiasco except Dino's case ( unless he didn't know that the little nepoleon have done a secret deal with his son )

Rais is not an expert on telcos technology and terms. He's only a Phd in law holder. But he trusted his little nepoleon too much. This guy is well known as a big jerung since his posting at tourism ministry before.

Anonymous said...


When is UMNO going to get rid of these scum (penjual Bangsa)?

And those sneaky business men like Tan Sir Fucker Yeoh?

Or do we need the vote to do the talking?

Macam mana nak sokong UMNO/BN kalau perangai masih babi macam ni? Nak isi kocek sendiri, kepentingan rakyat boleh diketepikan.

Si Sepet Hamsap Kristian patut je suruh dia labur duit dia ke negara lain. Kan dia pandai. Buat apa Malaysia jadi cash cow dia?

Anonymous said...

what the halubaha about 700mhz whatever.......the telcos (ALL OF THEM) are still reaping us ALL....get the mobile rates down...I dont care if we are the cheapest in asia (ARE WE?)....they make billions...where is the CSR....grrrrrrrrrr

mak lu said...

yeah.. the internet charges is damn expensive. burn them all

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing to give to YTL rather than letting the traditional telcos stocking all the available spectrums in their closet to collect dust. They rather lose money paying for apparatus assignment rather than losing the spectrum to competitor. The traditional telcos have been selling the idea of using these sub 1Ghz frequency to "bridge the telecommunication gap for rural areas" and after how many years.. they still sing the same tune.. but the rural areas still have "gaps" and no "telco bride" in the name of these sub 1Ghz medium.

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