Smaller and Newcomers Won WiMAX Licenses

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Mar 16 2007
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Malaysia’s telecoms industry regulator today named four newcomers as winners of much-coveted WiMAX licences. Green Packet Berhad (KLSE: GPACKET, stock-code 0082), YTL e-Solutions Berhad (KLSE: YTLE, stock-code 0009), REDtone International Berhad (KLSE: REDTONE, stock-code 0032) and Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd have secured 2.3Ghz wireless broadband spectrum licences. The successful applicants for the WiMAX spectrum licences are:

  • Bizsurf (M) Sdn Bhd – 50%-associate of YTL e-Solutions
  • MIB Comm Sdn Bhd – 55% subsidiary of Green Packet
  • Redtone-CNX Broadband Sdn Bhd – subsidiary of REDtone International Bhd
  • Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd – telecommunications and broadcast infrastructure company that was previously awarded the rights to build 50 cellular base stations in 2003

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said Bizsurf was awarded the 2330 to 2360 bandwidth, MIB 2360 to 2390, Asiaspace 2300 to 2330 and Redtone-CNX the 2375 to 2400 bandwidth. Except for Redtone-CNX, whose areas of operation are Sabah and Sarawak, the others will deploy their services in Peninsular Malaysia.

A total of 17 companies including Telekom Malaysia Berhad (KLSE: TM, stock-code 4863), Maxis Communications Berhad (KLSE: MAXIS, stock-code 5051) and DIGI.com Berhad (KLSE: DIGI, stock-code 6947) had submitted bids for the WiMAX license.

WiMAX – short for wireless interoperability for microwave access – allows super high-speed Internet access and file downloads from laptops, phones or other mobile devices over greater distances than previous technologies. WiMAX can blanket entire cities with high-speed wireless connections and is a longer-range version of the popular WiFi technology used to connect to the Internet in public spaces such as coffee shops. It is cheaper to set up and run than the high-speed 3G connection for mobile phones.

MCMC expects the companies to invest between RM250-RM300 million each during the first three years of operations. “We expect the winners to quickly roll out the service to 25% of the population in the area given to them by the end of this year, with a service provision of at least 1MBps at affordable rates. At the end of the third year, it is expected that they will be able to roll services to at least 40% of the population in the areas given to them,” MCMC said.

Analysts say the decision to award the licences for WiMAX – an emerging mobile broadband technology – to smaller companies is aimed at accelerating competition to meet its objective of wirelessly connecting more households. Malaysia badly lags more tech savvy nations such as Singapore and South Korea, despite a decade-long plan to become a high-tech nation.

Of the four winners, Green Packet Berhad could probably be the only one who will lead the roll-out of services with the WiMAX licenses awarded. Green Packet’s SONmetro solution is also being conducted in Bahrain, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Europe. SONmetro is Green Packet’s existing wireless broadband network solution. But rumors in the market was that something is fishy about MIB Comm Sdn Bhd as it was a 3-months-old company being registered early in Jan-2007 (could it be that “Men-In-Black” already knew it’ll definitely get a license?). Redtone is the next one who probably could deliver the service to Sabah and Sarawak based on its’ good track record, experience, capabilities and leading edge in innovation.

Without DIGI.com Berhad (KLSE: DIGI, stock-code 6947) in the picture, the game will not be as exciting as it should be. It’s just like a World Cup without the presence of Brazil – there won’t be samba to keep the spectators (consumers in this case) entertained.

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I believe Gpacket will start wimax service and the company has good potential to success.

i’ve no doubt about that … gpacket is the leader amongst the four … let’s hope it can deliver …

You are right on gpacket. If i am not mistaken, gpacket had raised a total of MYR200 million last year in private placement to fund wimax roll out.

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