The National Telecommunication Policy ( 1994 - 2020 )
This document outlines the objectives, strategies and features of the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP) for the 1994 - 2020 periods. This policy was formulated to ensure that the growth of telecommunications services and its use of technology support national development, in line with national aspirations.
The telecommunications sector is expanding rapidly with the introduction of the latest services and equipment. This development has become a catalyst for the growth of the nation’s commercial and industrial sectors. The integration of the telecommunications and computer industries also resulted in the rapid growth of sophisticated technology which ushers in a new Information Technology-based century. In addition, the telecommunications sector as an industry in its own right has gone through rapid growth too, and contributed much to the nation's economic development. The formulation of the NTP is important because it provides guidelines for the development of the telecommunications sector in Malaysia as it faces future challenges and supports the attainment of the objectives of Vision 2020.
The telephone and telegraphic services were specifically introduced after the First World War to help run the government’s administrative system. Later it expanded its role to the business and industrial sectors and later for public use. Starting from a simple network, this sector has developed to become a sophisticated telecommunications network, using optical fibre cable, microwave and satellite systems to link rural and urban areas throughout the nation and with the whole world.
The growth rate in the use of telecommunications facilities has increased tremendously, especially in the increasing number of telephone subscribers. At the end of the Second Malaysian Plan (1970 - 1975), there were 169,600 subscribers. This figure increased to 1.58 million subscribers at the end of the Fifth Malaysian Plan (1986 -1990). The number of telephones for every 100 persons increased from 6.5 in 1985 to 12 in 1993.
Besides the growing number of customers who make use of telecommunications facilities, other services also experienced rapid growth such as the mobile telecommunication radio, trunk radio and paging system as well as data services which include switching services, datel, telefax and other services. The introduction of he latest value-added and downstream telecommunication services spur further growth in the nation's manufacturing and economic service sector.
Development of the public telecommunications network is not only confined to the urban areas. Efforts to expand public telecommunications network to the rural areas are actively carried out. The total number of rural telephones in 1990 was 190,000 and this is expected to increase to 351,000 in 1995, a 11.5% growth. The rural telephone line penetration rate is expected to increase from 1.8 telephones for every 100 persons in 1990 to 3.1 telephones for every 100 persons in 1995.
The expansion and development of telecommunications services are important for the growth of the industrial and service sectors. To modernize and to increase telecommunications service growth rate, a competitive element was introduced in stages. The first step involved the incorporation of Telekom Malaysia in 1987 as a government-owned company. Later, new companies were licensed to provide certain services such as mobile cellular telephones, pagers, trunked radio, two-way radio system and other value-added services.
The Energy, Telecommunications and Posts Ministry is responsible for the formulation of policies and the planning of future long-term course of the telecommunications sector, while the Malaysian Telecommunications Department (JTM) is responsible for the supervision of the telecommunications sector. The JTM also encourages competition and ensures an orderly and efficient development or the telecommunications industry. These are in addition to the work done in licensing and enforcement.
THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION POLICY (1994 - 2020)
The NTP will function as a catalyst towards the growth and development of the telecommunications sector in its efforts to become a modern, sophisticated and dynamic sector.
The NTP will formulate general outlines for the development of the telecommunications sector not only at national but also at international levels. This will serve as guidelines to all parties involved including providers, investors and the Government particularly with regards to the requirements of investment, human resource development, network and service facilities, absorption of new technology and research and development.
At the national level, the NTP will coordinate the emergence of a competitive atmosphere in an orderly manner to ensure the optimum use of the country resources. For the domestic service, the NTP will outline the creation of quality, high technology, cost effective and sophisticated telecommunications services at par with that found in developed countries.
In the international arena, the NTP will ensure that Malaysia is regarded as a competitive telecommunications service supplier and a premier market leader known throughout the Asia Pacific region and the world.
THE MISSION AND OBJECTIVES OF THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY
The NTP will be the main catalyst towards the creation of an information-rich and intelligent nation.
The objectives of the NTP are divided into macro and micro objectives.
The macro objectives supports the National Development Policy is aims of national unity. And integration by encouraging interaction between the races and regions through telecommunication facilities and services. In addition, the NTP also helps to realise the objectives of Vision 2020 in creating an educated and information-rich society through the application of modern and sophisticated telecommunications network. The dissemination and expansion of information technology will produce a society capable of contributing towards the development of new technology to enhance the country's economic and industrial growth. Besides information technology, the application of all types of telecommunications technology in all sectors of the nation's economy will be enhanced.
The micro objectives are for the:
o Provision of modern, sophisticated and quality communications services at a reasonable cost.
o Ensuring that telephone services are expanded to the rural and urban population at a reasonable cost.
o Ensuring that the telecommunications infrastructure is adequate and effective in supporting the country's industrialization efforts.
o Encouraging the growth of value-added services.
o Ensuring that human resource development is in tandem with the needs of the telecommunications sector.
o Ensuring that local manufacturing industries for the manufacturing of telecommunications equipment continue to expand and grow.
o Ensuring the use of local products by the telecommunications sector.
o Encouraging research and development (R&D) to facilitate the absorption of new technology and to upgrade telecommunications facilities and services.
o Promoting better ties between nations towards making Malaysia and international telecommunications hub.
o Encouraging the healthy participation of telecommunications companies in the international market and investment in other countries in the fields of telecommunications.
o Ensuring that radio telecommunications spectrum resource management is administered in an effective and fair manner.
o Encouraging the active participation of bumiputera entrepreneurs in the development of all sectors of telecommunications, in line with the government's policy to create a Bumiputera Business and Industrial society.
The close relationship and cooperation between the Government and private sector are critical to the development of the telecommunications sector and the realisation of the objectives of the National Development Policy. Therefore, the NTP's strategies are based on the Government-Private sector synergy, working together to create a modern, sophisticated, efficient and productive telecommunications sector in making available services to every segment of society at a reasonable cost. The following strategies are identified to help attain the objectives of the NTP.
Expansion of Services in a Systematic and Comprehensive Manner
The target of the telephone lines penetration rate for the nation by the year 2020 is fixed at 50 telephones for every 100 persons. The rate is fixed at 25 telephones for every 100 persons for the rural areas. This target is to be achieved through an increase in basic facilities, an expansion of existing telecommunications network and provision for new ones.
The Government will license certain companies if necessary to supply certain infrastructure and services in accordance with the long term plans of the telecommunications sector. An integrated and reliable transmission network that covers the whole nation and capable of providing voice, video, data and imaging services will be expanded .
The Government will revise the rates and tariffs for all telecommunications services from time to time so that the cost of the services is reasonable and at par with those charged by neighbouring countries and the international market.
In the long term, the telecommunications network will expand to include fibre optic, microwave network and satellite systems. In addition, competition in the supply of telecommunications network infra-structure will be encouraged in an expanding market that attracts a growing number of users.
The realisation of social objectives in particular to increase and upgrade rural telecommunications facilities will not be neglected, and indeed all licensed telecommunications companies especially the carrier-network provider are responsible to achieve this end.
Development of a Strategic and Export-Oriented Manufacturing Industry
To strengthen the nation's economic growth and spur technological transfer, local manufacturing and assembly of telecommunications equipment are encouraged. Besides ensuring that technological transfer is continuous and to provide more employment opportunities, the local telecommunications industry is expected to gear itself for the export market in a large scale.
To develop the local industry, the use of locally produced equipment is encouraged through licensing regulations for all providers in the telecommunications sector. In addition to that, fiscal incentives are also provided to encourage the growth of the local telecommunications industry.
The NTP's main approach is to encourage a healthy and orderly competition. The telecommunications sector has been opened to competition where basic infrastructure and telecommunications services are operated by private enterprises. The main objective of the telecommunications sector is to encourage competition in the telecommunications sector in order to achieve efficiency and to provide excellent and quality service. This is in addition to the provision of services that will satisfy all users and people, in line with the National Privatization Policy.
o Encouraging competitiveness in the telecommunications sector will be carried out in stages. It will start with value-added services followed by the provision of infrastructure and other services.
o Competition in this sector will take into account the existence of similiar facilities
that are not profitable and problems resulting from different technologies.
o However, competition will not only be encouraged between systems (technology)
but also among providers using the same system.
o This element of competitiveness is encouraged at the domestic and international levels by taking into account the nation's commitment in international agreements such as GATT and others.
o Domestically competition in the te1ecommunications sector is implemented by taking into account the development of a new system/infrastructure that emerges from time to time in keeping with the rise in demand.
o Even though on the Whole the NTP encourages competition it does not necessarily mean creating separate systems.
o Even though competition is encouraged the Government is empowered to determine the number of competitors that are economically viable for certain telecommunications system/services. The NTP will provide a healthy environment and equal opportunities to all competitors.
Research and Development To Enhance The Application of Technology
Those involved in telecommunication are encouraged to carry out research and development (R & D) to support local industrial growth and to speed u transfer of technology. The requirement to carry out R & D will be part of the conditions under which licences will be issued. It is stated that at least 1% of the annual expenditure should be allocated for R & D purposes. Incentives for R & D activities will also be provided. R & D in certain telecommunications fields should be initiated.
Among the important fields identified are information technology and the development of information technology which possesses tremendous potential for expansion through telecommunications systems. R & D should also be made in the fields of cellular technology satellite fibre optics microwave and others.
To enhance the capacity to face the challenges of Vision: 2020 the NTP proposes the setting up of a national research and development institute in he field of telecommunications.