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DiGi not guaranteed to get 3G spectrum licence

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no guarantee that DiGi.Com Bhd, which proposed last week to pay more than RM700mil for Time dotCom Bhd’s (TDC) 3G spectrum, will receive the spectrum licence since the latter is non-transferable. Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said TDC had to write to the ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for permission to transfer the licence. “Spectrum licences are not transferable unless with special permission of the minister,” he told the media after opening the three-day ACM 2007 Expo and Forum, and Asean WiMAX Conference yesterday. Lim said TDC had yet to apply for permission. Velchip executive chairman/president Abdul Khalid Mydin (left) exchanging documents with TM Research and Development chief executive officer Dr Shahruddin Muslimin. With them are TM Group Malaysia Business chief executive officer Zam Isa (second from left) and Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik “At least it has to write to the minister, and the minister will decide whether to allow the transfer. “I am reminding players that they must get the minister’s permission for a licence transfer,” he said, adding that the ministry would have to know the reason and rationale for the transfer. Combined with DiGi’s mobility platform, strength and expertise, the two players can create new markets and new revenue streams. Under the proposal, DiGi and TDC were to share WiMAX towers and jointly distribute TDC’s WiMAX services using TDC’s 2.5GHz spectrum. DiGi plans to launch 3G offerings in the second half of 2008. For this, DiGi would invest another RM600mil to RM800mil over the next three years. Next year, it is expected to utilise capital expenditure of over RM1bil. After the opening ceremony, Lim witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and technology licensing agreement signing between TM Research & Technology Sdn Bhd and Velchip Sdn Bhd. The MoU and agreement signing would involve the joint development of a suite of Broadband Powerline products that will channel high-speed date data through electricity power lines to homes and businesses nationwide. Meanwhile, TDC in a statement yesterday said Lim's announcement that the Government would recall the rights to the 2.5GHz spectrum assigned to local operators, would have no impact on its alliance with DiGi. Bernama quoted a TDC company spokesman as saying that TDC would confer with the government on the impact of the 2.5 GHz spectrum recall to its customers and in the meantime, “TDC will continue to service its current customers”.

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