MCMC: 5G bands open to bids by telco consortiums in Q1 2020

  • MCMC
  • Thursday, 02 Jan 2020

MCMC will be opening 5G bands via tenders, inviting a consortium of telcos to bid rather than letting a single player monopolise the technology. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission will be allocating 5G bands to a consortium of licensees rather than a singular player, and start tendering it early this year.

In its ‘Allocation of spectrum bands for mobile broadband service in Malaysia’ report, the MCMC said the decision was made so the roll out would be done in a cost-efficient manner while encouraging collaboration among operators.

The first 5G frequency bands that it will be rolling out – referred to as the “5G pioneer bands” – are the 700MHz, 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz (“3.5 GHz band”) and 24.9GHz to 28.1GHz bands (“26/28 GHz bands”).

MCMC stated a portion of the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands will be assigned in one package through a tender process, which will start in Q1 of 2020.

“For the avoidance of doubt, MCMC has no preference in relation to the members of this consortium and will evaluate submissions received as per the tender process,” it said in the report, adding that specific criteria for the corporate structure of this consortium will be explained in a marketing plan, coming out in the next few months.

The remaining frequencies within the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands will be considered for assignment at a later stage.

Meanwhile, the frequency range of 24.9GHz to 26.5GHz will also be awarded based on a tender process to licensees on a nationwide basis, while the remaining frequency range of 26.5GHz to 28.1GHz will be assigned based on a first-come first-served basis.

The 26.5 GHz to 28.1 GHz bands will be open to any party, even non-licensees, for the purpose of deploying localised or private networks for industrial and enterprise services and applications such as healthcare, ports, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, public safety and smart city projects.

MCMC is allocating 3200 MHz of bandwidth in total, broken up as four blocks of 400 MHz (totalling 1600 MHz) for the 24.9-26.5GHz band available nationwide, and four blocks of 400 MHz (totalling 1600 MHz) for the 26.5-28.1GHz band for localised or private networks.

The Commission explained that the 3.5 GHz and 26/28 GHz bands are critical for 5G roll out.

This is because the 26/28 GHz bands supports large bandwidths and high data rates, making it ideal for increasing the capacity of wireless networks, while the 3.5 GHz band contributes a critical portion of the spectrum for mobile broadband by offering a balance between the wide coverage of lower frequencies and high capacity of the millimetre-wave spectrum.

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