The Malaysian telecoms regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), has said that it expects to see an increasing number of telecoms operators link up once Long Term Evolution-based (LTE-based) service rollouts get underway. According to The Star Online, the watchdog’s chairman, Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, said of the likelihood for network sharing agreements between operators: ‘In fact, they (industry players) are rationalising and we are happy to see smart partnerships all over.’
Such claims come after the MCMC awarded nine companies spectrum in the 2.6GHz band; as previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2011, more than a year after first announcing plans to hand a number of operators frequencies, the regulator outlined details of which companies would benefit from the allocation. Newcomer Puncak Semangat – a company controlled by billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary – will be given the largest amount of spectrum, with the regulator to hand it a 30MHz LTE-suitable block in the 2.6GHz band, while seven of the other eight players will be assigned a 20MHz block, with those being mobile network operators Celcom Axiata, DiGi Telecommunications, Maxis Communications and U Mobile, and WiMAX operators Packet One (P1), REDtone and YTL Communications. Asiaspace, meanwhile, despite reportedly having ceased offering WiMAX services over a year ago, rounds out the operators gaining spectrum, with it to be handed a 10MHz block of 2.6GHz spectrum. The frequencies are expected to be assigned at the start of 2013.
In separate but related news, Sharil was cited by Malaysia’s Business Times as saying that household broadband penetration in the country is expected to increase from 63% last year to 65% this year. Despite the expected increase, the MCMC chairman said that penetration growth is likely to slow, saying: ‘Since the rollout of the network in 2006, our household broadband penetration has been on a remarkable rising trend from merely 11% during the period to the current outreach … But we don’t expect this number to continue… the market is saturating.’