There are at least three companies believed to be finalising possible bids for Malaysian broadband provider Jaring Communications, according The Star Online. Of the potential bidders, the report names two, Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, and CMC Engineering. In December 2011, more than a year after first announcing plans to hand a number of operators spectrum in the 2.6GHz band, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) confirmed Puncak as one of nine companies that would be handed frequencies; it will gain access to a 30MHz, Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable block in the 2.6GHz band in 2013. CMC Engineering, meanwhile, is yet to dip its toe in the telecoms waters, having more traditionally bid for engineering work for extensions to the light rail transit (LRT). According to unnamed sources cited by the report, all three interested parties are expected to submit their bids in the next few weeks, with one source quoted as saying: ‘It is not an open bid. Some parties are keen and want to submit their proposals. It is purely an industry initiative and they (the bidders) may have conducted a due diligence on Jaring.’
Jaring, which according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database was launched as Malaysia’s first internet service provider (ISP) in 1992, is currently wholly-owned by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), which took direct control of the operator in December 2006. Efforts to divest the operator have been made before, with fixed line incumbent Telekom Malaysia reported to have expressed an interest in acquiring Jaring as far back as 2001. TIME dotCom is also reported to have been considering a bid a few years back, but despite submitting an offer for the ISP as part of a tender exercise conducted by the MoF in 2007/08, no deal was struck amid suggestions that pricing and policy issues had hindered the sale. At that date it was understood that bids for Jaring had ranged between MYR15 million and MYR27 million (USD4.75 million and USD8.45 million).