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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   9  November 2015  

Telcom groups unite against Supreme Court ruling on IM2

Indonesia: Sixteen associations from the telecommunications industry issued a petition against the Supreme Court for turning down an appeal by former PT Indosat Mega Media (IM2) president director Indar Atmanto, on Thursday.

The associations said the court’s rejection would hamper the growth of the telecommunications industry in the country.

The case revolves around allegations that IM2 had been operating illegally and had caused state losses by failing to secure frequency licenses and pay an up-front fee, as set out in a Communications and Information Ministry regulation, which bans telecommunications firms from handing over frequency allocations to other companies.

Indar was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2013 for his role in the case. The judge also ordered IM2 to repay state losses of up to Rp 1.3 trillion. In March, Indar submitted the case-review appeal, but the Supreme Court turned it down on Wednesday.

Telecommunications associations, including the Telecommunications and Information Society (MASTEL), the Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJII), the Computer Entrepreneurs Association (APKOMINDO) and the Indonesian Cellular Phone Provider Association (ATSI) argued that the court’s rejection would bring about a large impact on the telecom industry.

Indar’s imprisonment, the collective group of associations said, would hamper the industry’s growth and deter investors, therefore disrupting Indonesian economic growth in general.

“This case revolves around an agreement made by IM2, in providing internet services through parent company Indosat’s frequency. This recent decision by the Supreme Court could send the wrong message, that all cooperation between service providers and network providers are considered illegal, while really it is not,” MASTEL chairman Kristiyono explained to reporters on Thursday, on behalf of the associations.

In addition, ATSI chairman Sutrisman said the Communications and Information Ministry must act in upholding telecommunications laws, especially making clear the legalities of such cooperation between network providers and service providers.

“We are waiting on legal and business certainties regarding this case and urge the government to look at this issue with the utmost understanding of regulation and industry,” Sutrisman said.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara also commented on Thursday that he is “concerned” with the Supreme Court’s decision and said that it could potentially pose a huge business risk for the telecommunications industry.

Meanwhile, Indosat refused to comment on any aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision, but said that it planed to file another legal action.

“Right now, things at Indosat are business as usual, but we cannot comment on that case any further. Indosat plans to file another legal action as soon as we can,” head of Indosat’s corporate communications Deva Rachman added.

Previously, Indosat argued that IM2 had paid its fees, for utilizing part of the frequency that the mobile operator had obtained from the government to provide internet services to customers.

Industry experts have repeatedly pointed out that the IM2 business model was legal and common within the industry.

The case highlights the lack of legal certainty in the country, an issue that may hamper the industry from expanding amid high demand for faster internet and data access. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/11/06/telcom-groups-unite-against-supreme-court-ruling-im2.html#sthash.FM38hfg2.dpuf



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