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MCMC seeking Public Feedback on 700Mhz, 2300Mhz & 2600Mhz

The Malaysian Government is now seeking feedback from the public on spectrum allocation matters in relation to 700MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands, from 1 July 2019 until 30 August 2019. These frequencies are used to offer mobile and broadband services such as 4G LTE.

mcmc

The Public Inquiry (PI) is being managed by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and it is the first time the Commission is seeking public feedback on spectrum matters.

700Mhz Band (3GPP Band 28)

At the moment, the 700Mhz band 28 is used for Terrestrial television (TV) service but currently being migrated to a different frequency for Digital TV. The migration is expected to be completed by 3rd Quarter of 2019.

Current status in 700MHz band
Frequencies 703 MHz to 743 MHz paired with 758 MHz to 798 MHz

(3GPP Band 28)

Current status  Digital Terrestrial TV (“DTT”) switchover in progress
Current use Analogue and digital TV broadcasting
Amount of spectrum available for mobile broadband service 2×40 MHz

 

The 700Mhz will be used for mobile broadband services, likely for 4G LTE. MCMC said that there are approximately 1,500 devices that supports the 700Mhz band right now.

MCMC said the assignment process of the 700MHz band is expected to commence in the 4th Quarter of 2019 and targeted to be completed by the 2nd Quarter of 2020. The 700MHz band will be available to be used for mobile broadband service at the earliest in the 3rd Quarter of 2020.

2300 Band (3GPP Band 40)

At the moment, the 2300MHz frequency band is assigned to four operators, namely Asiaspace, Redtone, TM/Webe and YTLC for the provision of broadband wireless access. It is being used for WiMAX and 4G LTE (TDD) services.

Service Providers using the 2300Mhz band right now:

Operators Frequency Range Bandwidth Area
Asiaspace 2300 MHz to 2330 MHz 30 MHz Peninsular Malaysia
Redtone 2300 MHz to 2330 MHz 30 MHz Sabah and Sarawak
YTLC 2330 MHz to 2360 MHz 30 MHz Nationwide
TM/Webe 2360 MHz to 2390 MHz 30 MHz Nationwide

 

YTL Communications (YTLC) is utilising the 2300MHz to 2330MHz band allocated to Asiaspace by way of “third party authorisation”. Therefore, the actual utilisation by YTLC in Peninsular Malaysia is 60MHz.

MCMC said that it is considering to vacate and reassign the 2300MHz band. “This is to ensure efficient use of spectrum and to provide opportunities to implement a more flexible band plan based on 10MHz or 20MHz bandwidth.”

The Commission also plans to remove spectrum allocation based on regional distinctions (Peninsular/Sabah and Sarawak) with the new assignments to be on a nationwide basis.

The assignment process of the 2300MHz band is expected to commence in the 4th Quarter of 2019 and targeted to be completed by the 3rd Quarter of 2020. The 2300MHz band will be assigned by way of Spectrum Assignment (SA) at the earliest in the 4th Quarter of 2020.

Current status in 2300 MHz band
Frequencies 2300-2390 MHz (3GPP Band 40)
Current status By way of apparatus assignment (“AA”) (Annual renewal)
Current use LTE and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
Available spectrum for mobile broadband service 90 MHz

 

2600Mhz Band (3GPP Band 7-FDD and Band 38-TDD)

The 2600Mhz is a key frequency for 4G LTE service in the country. In 2012, 8 service providers were assigned or allowed to use the 2600MHz band.

Operators Frequency Range Bandwidth
Redtone 2500 MHz to 2510 MHz paired with 2620 MHz to 2630 MHz 2×10 MHz
Maxis 2510 MHz to 2520 MHz paired with 2630 MHz to 2640 MHz 2×10 MHz
U Mobile 2520 MHz to 2530 MHz paired with 2640 MHz to 2650 MHz 2×10 MHz
Celcom 2530 MHz to 2540 MHz paired with 2650 MHz to 2660 MHz 2×10 MHz
Altel 2540 MHz to 2560 MHz paired with 2660 MHz to 2680 MHz 2×20 MHz
Digi 2560 MHz to 2570 MHz paired with 2680 MHz to 2690 MHz 2×10 MHz
TM/Webe 2575 MHz to 2595 MHz 20 MHz
YTLC 2595 MHz to 2615 MHz 20 MHz

 

The actual spectrum utilisation (total) based on sharing arrangements between service providers:

  • Maxis (sharing arrangement with Redtone): 2x20Mhz
  • Celcom (Sharing arrangement with Altel): 2x20Mhz
  • Digi (Sharing arrangement with Altel): 2x20Mhz

MCMC said it is considering the reassignment of the 2600MHz band through Spectrum Assignment  (SA) based on actual utilisation. This will involve direct conversion of current AAs (Apparatus Assignment) held by Maxis, Celcom Axiata, U Mobile, Digi, TM/Webe and YTLC, to SC. It said that there will be no disruption of services with the proposed reassignment.

The conversion process of the 2600MHz band is expected to commence in the 4th Quarter of 2019 and targeted to be completed by the 2nd Quarter of 2020. The 2600 MHz band will be assigned by way of SA at the earliest in the 3rd Quarter of 2020.

Current status in 2600 MHz band
Frequencies i) 2500 MHz to 2570 MHz paired with 2620 MHz to 2690 MHz (Frequency Division Duplex (“FDD”)) (3GPP Band 7)

ii) 2575 MHz to 2615 MHz (Time Division Duplex (“TDD”)) (3GPP Band 38)

Current status (AA) expires on 31 December 2019
Current use Mobile/fixed wireless using LTE
Amount of spectrum available for mobile broadband service i) 2×70MHz (FDD)

ii) 40 MHz (TDD)

 

Below are the list of questions the MCMC is asking the Public:

Spectrum Band Questions
700 MHz Question 1: MCMC would like to seek views on the proposed allocation plan for the 700 MHz band, in particular on:

i) Award mechanism

ii) Timeline for assignment

Question 2: MCMC would like to seek views on the optimum spectrum block per operator for assignment of the 700 MHz band.

2300 MHz Question 3: MCMC would like to seek views on the proposed allocation plan for the 2300 MHz band, in particular on:

i) Award mechanism

ii) Timeline for assignment

Question 4: MCMC would like to seek views on the optimum spectrum block per operator for assignment of the 2300 MHz band.

2600 MHz Question 5: MCMC would like to seek views on the proposed allocation plan for the 2600 MHz band, in particular on:

i)  Award mechanism

ii) Timeline for assignment

Question 6: MCMC seeks suggestions on approaches to mitigate interference between FDD and TDD blocks to facilitate efficient spectrum utilisation in the 2600 MHz band.

Spectrum price Question 7: MCMC would like to seek views on the appropriate range (per MHz) for SA fees (price component and annual fee component) and the rationale for the proposed fees, for the following spectrum bands:

i) 700 MHz;

ii) 2300 MHz; and

iii) 2600MHz

 

For more information about the PI on the allocation of spectrum bands for mobile broadband service, please download this PDF file.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy