MCMC expects 5G commercial deployment by 3Q

It has identified the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26/28GHz as the pioneer spectrum bands for 5G roll-out in Malaysia


THE Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) expects the commercial deployment of 5G in Malaysia to begin by the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20).

The commission has identified the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26/28GHz as the pioneer spectrum bands for the 5G roll-out in Malaysia, in light of the rapid development of the global 5G ecosystem and deployment.

“The 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands are being considered for allocation to a single entity comprising a consortium formed by multiple licensees, instead of individual licensees. The existing allocation for the deployment of the current 4G technology will be maintained,” the MCMC said in a statement yesterday.

This includes maintaining the existing allocation of the 2,300MHz and 2,600MHz bands until December 2021.

The MCMC will undertake a tender process for this purpose. This approach is intended to lower the capital expenditure by minimising costs and prevent the duplication of infrastructure, at a time where improvements in 4G networks are continuing.

“As this is a new approach, the ministry will only make available 2x30MHz of the 700 MHz band and 100MHz of the 3.5GHz band. The remaining frequencies of these bands will be considered for assignment at a later stage,” it added.

The assignment of the 26/28GHz bands will be conducted in two methods.

The 24.9GHz to 26.5GHz frequency bands will be assigned through a tender process to licensees on a nationwide basis, while the 26.5GHz to 28.1GHz frequency bands will be assigned on a first-come first-serve basis and will be open to any party (including non-licensees) for the purpose of deploying localised and/or private networks.

The assignment for the above mentioned spectrum bands will be made by way of apparatus assignment (AA). The MCMC anticipates that the appropriate spectrum fee through AA to be more economical and will encourage network deployment by the service provider. Cost savings can be passed on to businesses and consumers to ensure better value of affordable services.

The MCMC has also released the Final Report on the allocation of spectrum bands for mobile broadband services in Malaysia.

The Final Report was issued following the government’s commitment to make public its final position, as indicated in the Public Inquiry (PI) report on spectrum allocation matters, and was published on Sept 29, 2019.

The position taken in the Final Report reflects both the MCMC’s deliberation of the responses to the PI, and an assessment of current developments globally in relation to 5G deployment.

“This is consistent with the deliberations in the National 5G Task Force that was established since November 2018 and comprised 114 organisations from the private sector, ministries and agencies representing the demand and supply side of the ecosystem,” said the MCMC.