Malaysia’s government has awarded 3G mobile licenses to the country’s two largest telecoms firms: Telekom Malaysia, the incumbent fixed-line operator; and Maxis Communications, the leading mobile operator.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is charging each operator $13.17 million for its license. The relatively low fee is unsurprising, given the skepticism that has greeted 3G in Europe, combined with Malaysia’s relatively poor population.
Although the country had originally planned to sell three 3G licenses, only two of the bidders met the MCMC’s undisclosed criteria. Even the successful bidders will see their licenses withdrawn if they fail to produce a detailed business plan for the MCMC within six months, showing how they will meet six key objectives.
Network infrastructure for the new project looks set to cost the operators $750-850 million each, with an expected launch date of early 2004.