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Starlink secures licence to operate in Malaysia

25 Jul 2023

Following reports earlier this month that Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had a video call with Elon Musk, Malay Mail reports that SpaceX subsidiary Starlink has now been granted a licence to offer satellite broadband services in Malaysia.

According to the report, Anwar had previously announced that the country had ordered 40 Starlink satellite broadband kits to be distributed in schools and universities. Now, it is understood that Starlink has been awarded a ten-year Network Facility and Service Provider (NFP/NSP) licence, and has been given twelve months in which to launch services under this concession.

Of particular note, Starlink will be permitted to operate with full foreign ownership; Starlink Malaysia was reportedly incorporated back in June 2021 and is currently wholly owned by Amsterdam-based Starlink Holdings Netherlands. In response to a query regarding this ownership structure, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was said to have clarified that although there is usually a 49% cap for foreign equity imposed on NFP and NSP licensees, applicants can request to be exempted from this condition. To that end, MCMC said that based on an assessment made on the value and benefits to be provided by Starlink Malaysia, the regulator had determined the company will be permitted to operate in the country under its existing ownership structure.

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