More than a month after the assignment of the 700Mhz band to 5 Telecommunication companies (Telcos) in Malaysia was cancelled, the Government is still studying and deciding on the implementation of 5G technology in the country.
Malaysia has been exploring 5G technology since 2019 and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has identified the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26/28GHz as the pioneer spectrum bands for the roll-out of Malaysia 5G.
Yesterday, the Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said that the decision on whether the 700MHz spectrum would be allocated to a consortium or individual licensees was also still under discussion.
The Deputy Minister also said that the 700Mhz band will be prioritised to Telcos with existing mobile subscriber base.
“We are still discussing the 700MHz frequency band, on the basis that we will give priority to telecommunication companies with existing subscribers. This discussion also involves whether it will be awarded to a consortium or be given directly to the company.
Among the major Telcos in Malaysia, Maxis has over 11 million mobile subscribers, Digi has 10 million while Celcom Axiata has close to 8 million. U Mobile had over 6 million mobile subscribers as of 2018. Unifi Mobile subscriber base crossed the 1 million mark recently. YTL’s Yes and Puncak Semangat’s Altel have yet to announce a million subscribers.
“We will announce the decision as soon as possible, because this spectrum band is important to maximise usage nationwide,” reported Bernama.
Earlier, the Communication Minister’s decision to assign the 700Mhz band last month came as a surprise to the Industry since the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) promised early this year for a tender process “intended to lower the capital expenditure (CAPEX) by minimising costs and prevent the duplication of infrastructure, at a time where improvements in 4G LTE networks are continuing.”
However, it is learned that a tender process for the 700Mhz band never took place and the spectrum assignments to Altel Communications, Maxis, Celcom Axiata, Digi and Telekom Malaysia were later cancelled.
Some 80Mhz spectrum are up for grab in the 700Mhz band while the remaining 10Mhz are believed to be utilised by YTL.