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Malaysia’s three major mobile operators have all agreed to renew their spectrum licenses in the 2.1GHz band. It was disclosed that each operator paid MYR118.4 ($30.5 million) to renew their licensing agreements with the regulatory commission in the country.

Reports have also claimed that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has offered to extend their respective 3G spectrum licenses for sixteen years. Separate filings submitted to Malaysia’s stock exchange indicated that the companies all formally accepted the offer tabled by the MCMC and that payment is due to February 1st.

Malaysia three major players in the telecommunications sector in the country are Celecom Axiata, Digi and Maxis. It was further disclosed that Celecom Axiata renewed its holdings in the 1950MHz to 1965MHz and 2140MHz to 2155MHz bands.

It was outlined that Maxis has 2x15MHz of FDD spectrum and 1x5MHz of TD airwaves in the 2.1GHz band, whilst it was revealed that Digi holds 2x15MHz in the band. The three operators need to pay a MYR50 million annual fee for the spectrum.

The MCMC is auctioning off eight 2x5MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum with operators already submitting bids. The spectrum is currently used for analogue broadcasting services in the country and will be made available for mobile broadband service from 1 January 2019.

Malaysia’s operators are also aggressively pursuing their development and investment in 5G technology. It is expected that the first commercial deployment of 5G will come in 2019, with the US, Japan and South Korea currently locked in an intense battle to be the first in the world to introduce the next-generation technology. Ericsson and the GSMA projected that Malaysia will not be in a position to launch 5G services in the country until 2022.