The Communications and Multimedia Commission in Malaysia has announced it has five bidders for the country’s three 3G licenses. The number is higher than expected: only three of the existing networks were thought likely to bid.
The bids come from four GSM operators, Celcom, backed by Technology Resources Industries, Time.com’s subsidiary TIMESat, Telekom Malaysia, and Maxis Communications. The fifth bidder is E-Touch, an application services provider.
The 15-year licenses are for sale at a fixed fee of $13.2 million, and will be awarded to the winners of a beauty contest selection procedure. Contenders will be assessed according to their financial situation, technical knowledge, their rollout and coverage plans as well as other factors. The results of the bidding will be announced on July 30, 2002.
The decision may not be entirely straightforward, however, as consolidation within the industry is expected. Telekom Malaysia already has a stake in Celcom and there have been rumors of a possible merger between the two companies.