The Minister of Communication and Multimedia, Saifuddin Abdullah has instructed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to cancel off the recent ministerial determination and directive surrounding 700MHz spectrum bands.
Today’s announcement came rather swiftly following the discovery of several interesting documents within MCMC’s website earlier this week. Among them is the Ministerial Directive No. 4 of 2020 [pdf] that was signed by Minister Saifuddin on 15 May which involved direct allocations of 700MHz spectrum bands to Altel, Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and TM.
It was a rather baffling move since the allocations of the 700MHz spectrum bands which have been marked as one of the 5G pioneer bands, were supposed to be done through open tender. In addition to that, MCMC originally intends to award them to a consortium instead of individual companies, given the high cost of 5G rollout.
Meanwhile, the announcement also covers the 900MHz allocations for Altel that was done through Ministerial Determination No. 3 [pdf] and Ministerial Directive No. 5 [pdf] that were also signed by Minister Saifuddin on 15 May. This particular allocation has also raised some questions since it came out of nowhere and also the fact that Altel is not exactly a major player in the market.
As for the 2600MHz spectrum bands that were mentioned in today’s announcement, it is likely a reference to the Ministerial Directive No. 3 [pdf]. From our perspective, it was a rather odd directive since the document didn’t say anything much aside from listing down the existing 2600MHz arrangement although MCMC has noted earlier this year that the 2600MHz spectrum bands will be up for reassessment in 2021.
At this moment, it is not clear what is going to happen next to the spectrum bands that were covered in the announcement. Given what has transpired though, we expecting further announcements from MCMC or the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia regarding their plans for these rather valuable spectrum bands.