The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that spectrum in the 900Mhz & 1800Mhz bands will be reallocated among 4 Telcos (Maxis, Celcom, Digi & U Mobile) by August 2016 for full implementation by 1 July 2017.
These two bands of spectrum will be assigned for a fee to Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U Mobile for a period of 15 years.
Last Thursday, the Malaysian Government announced that “The Government will optimise the revenue from the telecommunication spectrum through a redistribution and bidding process which will be implemented soon” -revised Budget 2016.
“Spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands will be reallocated among four players by August this year,” said MCMC Chairman, Dato’ Sri Dr Halim Shafie in a statement today.
He said that the selection of these four players is because they already have sufficient infrastructure to expand on, to “increase competition in the industry”.
“The reallocation takes into account the development of the sector and the nation as a whole. Specifically, a high priority has been put on communications coverage, quality of service and affordability of services,” said Dr Halim.
The spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz are currently held by the 3 big Telcos; Maxis, Celcom and Digi. It was originally assigned for 2G network. However, over the past few years, it isn’t exclusively used for 2G networks anymore.
Part of Celcom 3G and Maxis 3G network are currently running on 900Mhz. Maxis, Celcom and Digi have also used 1800Mhz to build its new 4G LTE network around the country.
The 900Mhz spectrum is now being occupied by Maxis, Celcom and DiGi with 32MHz, 34MHz and 4MHz respectively. In the 1800Mhz band, all the 3 Telcos (Maxis, Celcom, Digi) each has a 50Mhz spectrum.
“While we are going to charge a fee for the spectrum, we recognize that the players need to have sufficient capital to introduce and expand services.”
According to Dr Halim, the fee for the spectrum is currently being determined. Similar to the previous practice for the 3G spectrum, payments will be in phases, which will allow them to rollout services and not pass the cost to consumers.
MCMC has said that it will also be looking at relocating the other spectrum bands such as the 700MHz, 2300MHz, 2600MHz bands by end of 2017.
The 700Mhz is current being used by TV stations such as TV1, TV2, TV3, ntv7, TV9 while Telcos like Packet One Network (P1), Yes have spectrum in the 2300Mhz and 2600Mhz.