Malaysia- Licensing for Convergence

This Practice Note is adapted from the materials on the website of the Malaysian Commission for Multimedia and Communications, available on-line at:  http://www.mcmc.gov.my/, and was reported in ITU Trends in Telecommunications Reform – 2004/05:  Licensing in an Era of Convergence (Geneva:  ITU, 2004).

Summary

Enacted in 1999, Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) established a regulatory framework explicitly designed to reflect and accommodate the phenomenon of convergence.  The CMA introduced a technology- and service-neutral licensing regime for telecommunications and broadcasting that abandoned conventional service-specific classifications for four generic classifications:

·                    Network Facility Providers (NFPs), which include owners of satellite earth stations, fibre optic cables, communications lines and exchanges, radio communication and transmission equipment, mobile communication base stations and broadcasting towers and equipment;

·                    Network Service Providers (NSPs) for entities that provide basic connectivity and bandwidth to support a variety of applications;

·                    Application Service Providers (ASPs) for licensees that provide particular functions such as voice services, data services, Internet access services, IP telephony, and other transmission services; and

·                    Content Applications Service Providers (CASPs) – a special subset of applications service providers – including traditional broadcast services and services such as online publishing and information services.

The services falling under these categories are further subdivided into services requiring individual licences, services requiring class licences, and exempt services.  The process for obtaining class licences involves a lower level of regulation than individual licences, which require ministerial approval.  Class licences require registration.  Licensees are allowed to hold more than one type of licence at a time.

The national regulatory authority, the Malaysian Commission for Multimedia and Communications (MCMC), began migrating telecommunications and broadcasting providers to the new regime in 1999.  A total of 56 categories of licensed services and 24 categories of licensed facilities were reorganized into the four generic licensing classifications established by the CMA. The migration process was completed in 2002.

 

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