While this means that newcomers to the industry will find it hard to utilise existing infrastructure held by the larger players, it does bode well for incumbent TM, as Fitch did not think that the regulator would come down hard on TM to force open that network. That in turn, means that TM will be able to gain the most from its high-speed broadband network that it is rolling out.
“A high level of state ownership has worked to the advantage of TM, in view of interventionist powers retained by the Government on licensing and broad policy issues. The regulator has notably taken a moderate stance on opening up the incumbent network to broadband competition,” Fitch noted.
“Malaysian telco policies have been relatively stable compared with some other countries that have a somewhat shaky government, whereby regulations get overturned when a new government comes in,” he said.
“It takes a long while for a license to be processed and small players still feel unfairly treated in terms of access to the networks of the bigger players. There is also much transparency lacking in the way the MCMC is utilising the RM5bil it has for universal service provision,” said an industry player who declined to be named.