Yesterday the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced the 4 winners of licenses to operate the 2.3GHz WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) spectrum in Malaysia (PDF link to news release).
The 4 winners were:
- Bizsurf (M) Sdn Bhd (a unit of YTL-e Solutions Bhd)
- Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd (subsidiary of Green Packet and formerly known as MIB Comm Sdn Bhd)
- Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd
- Redtone-CNX Broadband Sdn Bhd
The bigger news is that none of the 3 telecom companies in Malaysia won a license. The failure to obtain a WiMAX license isn’t that big a deal to TM and Maxis, who both have 3G licenses, but DiGi has really been left out in the cold again, having failed to win a 3G license also previously. It really looks like our Government doesn’t want any foreigners to have a too big foothold in Malaysian telecommunications. My heart goes out to DiGi – I’m an unabashed DiGi fanboy – but they say they’ll be ok.
The four winners are expected to spend between RM250-RM300 million each to roll out wireless broadband services based on WiMAX in the next 3 years and the MCMC says that their decision is in line with their goal that broadband penetration increases to 75% by 2010 (keep hoping).
My take: I’m actually disappointed that none of the telcos won a license. I think that a telco that also operates a wireless broadband service will usher in fixed-mobile convergence in Malaysia quicker. With WiMAX being operated by the telcos competitors, I’m afraid that switching between cellular and wireless broadband will be less than seamless.
If anything, I hope the news will spur TM Net (the damn slackers!) to buck up its services.