Friday, 18 November, 2011 | 16:29 WIB TEMPO Interactive, Bali:ASEAN countries are planning to apply free telephone roaming in Southeast Asia. The plan is being discussed by the director-general, regulatory bodies and ministers. “The high roaming fee is a common concern of all ASEAN countries,” said the Communication Ministry’s spokesman, Gatot Dewa Broto, yesterday in Nusa Dua, Bali.
He said the implementation would be accelerated from the previous target of 2014.
Previously, Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring said the ASEAN free roaming plan would be realized by next year at the earliest. The plan is part of improving Southeast Asia connectivity through infrastructure and telecommunication facilities. The connectivity will link 10 ASEAN member countries and China. “Next month I will go to the ASEAN Telmin forum in Myanmar and this will be discussed there,” he said.
Gatot said the plan would encourage telecommunication operators’ efficiency. “Those who are ready to compete will sustain,” he said. The free roaming plan will also push telecommunication companies to consolidate. “So far the government has not limited the number of cellular operators that can operate in Indonesia,” he added.
The CEO of PT Telkomsel, Sarwoto Atmosutarno, supported the plan.
He said there was a significant roaming rate difference in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore because there has not been an international regulation on regional communication. “The difference is irrational,” he said.
PT XL Axiata’s CEO, Hasnul Suhaimi, also gave his support. “It is in line with the telecommunication industry’s strategy in achieving a united ASEAN economic community. XL is ready, operation wise,” he said in a short message.