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Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Pledge Commitment to align with the Asia Pacific Telecommunity 700 MHz

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Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Pledge Commitment to align with the Asia Pacific Telecommunity 700 MHz
18/06/2013
The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), the Directorate General Sumber Daya dan Perangkat Pos dan Informatika of Indonesia (DG SDPPI), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), have jointly announced their commitment to align with the Asia Pacific Telecommunity 700 MHz band plan[1]. This was announced at the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2013, Asia’s largest infocomm and media platform.
 
With the increasing number of mobile subscribers and the upsurge of “bandwidth-hungry” applications, mobile broadband data traffic is expected to experience exponential growth in the near future.  More radio frequency spectrums are required to accommodate this increasing demand.  One promising spectrum band which offers large bandwidth of spectrum and hence improves data rates for mobile broadband is the 700 MHz band.  The propagation characteristic of the 700 MHz band also enables wider coverage and improved indoor service. 
 
Hj Yahkup Hj Menudin, AITI’s Chief Executive, said, “This will particularly address the issues of mobile broadband coverage within underserved areas in Brunei Darussalam.”  He added that the alignment or harmonisation with the APT 700 MHz band will benefit neighbouring countries as well.  “It will enable greater interoperability and facilitate international roaming between networks.  Cross border co-ordination can be further enhanced as we adopt the same band plan.  In addition, there will be economies of scale for the cost of mobile broadband equipment and devices,” he said.  “Considering the benefits, Brunei Darussalam is ready to make the 700 MHz band available for mobile broadband system.”
 
Indonesia recognises the demand for greater mobile broadband services flexibility as well, and has strongly supported the APT 700 MHz band plan since the initiation of band harmonisation in Asia Pacific.  Dr Muhammad Budi Setiawan, Director General of DG SDPPI noted, “This is also in line with the current regulation of our Master Plan for Digital Television, which allocates the 694-806 MHz for digital dividend in Indonesia.”
Chairman of MCMC, Dato’ Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, also echoed Malaysia’s support for the harmonisation.  He said, “This commitment signifies an important step in regional harmonisation.  A regionally harmonised 700 MHz band will be advantageous in many aspects, promoting greater cohesion technologically and socially, spurring growth and development in the industry and greater business community.  We look forward to a united ASEAN “telecommunity” according the same commitment towards achieving this goal."
 
Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General (Telecoms & Post), IDA expressed his appreciation to AITI, DG SDPPI and MCMC for their constructive and cooperative approach that has enabled the four regulatory authorities to reach this common agreement to align with the APT 700 MHz band plan.  “This marks an important milestone achieved by the four regulatory authorities.  I hope that this collaboration could be further extended to other countries in this region, as this will help improve regional mobile roaming and allow the countries to meet growing demand for mobile broadband,” he said.
The APT 700 MHz band plan aims to align and optimise the use of the freed broadcast spectrum after the analogue switch off[2], allowing greater flexibility for the deployment of mobile broadband services, using technologies such as 4G[3].  The harmonised use of the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband uses will improve regional mobile roaming and provide more competitive mobile broadband services.


[1] The Asia Pacific Telecommunity 700 MHz band plan is a vital document which contains radio frequency allocation for various wireless services in a particular country and accompanying notes on constraints when using the frequencies.  Each band plan defines the frequency range to be included, how channels are to be defined, and what will be carried on those channels. The authorised frequency bands are defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and local regulating agencies. For more information, please visit http://www.apt.int/sites/default/files/APT-AWF-REP-14_APT_Report_Harmonized_Freq_Arrangement.doc
[2] The analogue switch off refers to the completion of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting. ASEAN is targeting to complete the transition by 2020. For more information, please visit: http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-socio-cultural-community/item/joint-media-statement-10th-conference-of-the-asean-ministers-responsible-for-information-amri
[3] 4G refers to “4th Generation cellular mobile technology”.