Malaysian Regulator Reveals Tender Plans for 5G Spectrum Allocation

January 2020

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has released its final report on the allocation of spectrum bands for mobile broadband service in Malaysia. The report identified 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26/28 GHz (24.9 GHz to 28.1 GHz) bands for the initial deployment of 5G in the country.

MCMC is considering the allocation of the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands to a single entity comprising a consortium formed by multiple licensees instead of allocating these bands to individual licensees. Participants of the consortium may share the required resources to roll out the relevant Infrastructure and the provisioning of relevant network services to support 5G. This approach is intended to lower capital expenditure by minimizing costs and prevent the duplication of Infrastructure whilst leveraging on and optimizing current resources owned and operated by the relevant licensees.

Specific criteria for the corporate structure of this consortium will be indicated in the marketing plan to be issued by MCMC by the first quarter of 2020. MCMC will make available the spectrum bands in stages to ensure that any entity undertaking the deployment of Infrastructure and provisioning of network services perform in accordance to the conditions set for the assignment of the relevant bands. In the first stage, MCMC will make available 2×30 MHz of the 700 MHz band and 100 MHz of the 3.5 GHz band as the package in the tender (beauty contest which means asking applicants to make written requests for the license, and allocating the licenses to those making the most convincing case, instead of an auction) process. The remaining frequencies within the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands will be considered for assignment at a later stage.

The frequency range of 24.9 GHz to 26.5 GHz will also be assigned through a tender process (beauty contest) to licensees on a nationwide basis. The remaining frequency range of 26.5 GHz to 28.1 GHz will be assigned based on a first-come first-served basis and will be open to any party (including non-licensees) for the purpose of deploying localized and/or private networks for industrial and enterprise services and applications for, but not limited to, healthcare, ports, transportation, Manufacturing, agriculture, public safety and smart city projects. Any party that has successfully been assigned with the frequency range of 24.9 GHz to 26.5 GHz, following the tender exercise, will not be eligible to apply for the remaining frequency range of 26.5 GHz to 28.1 GHz.

It was stated that once the assignment processes are completed, the commercial deployment of 5G in Malaysia is expected to begin by the third quarter (Q3) of 2020.

(Sources: Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission; Bernama; Digital News Asia)

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