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New spectrum fee, reallocation of bands announcement delayed?

by June 22, 2016 General

PETALING JAYA: Rumours are rife that the announcement of a new spectrum fee for the 900MW and 1800MW bands could be delayed due to prolonged discussion with industry players, according to AmInvestment Bank.

“All eyes are on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) announcement for the new spectrum fee pricing for the 900MW and 1800MW bands, which have been reallocated amongst the four main licence holders.

“However, our channel checks indicate that the announcement, which is expected to arrive by August this year, may be delayed by ongoing discussions with industry players,” it said in a sector report yesterday.

MCMC when contacted by StarBiz declined to comment on the matter yesterday.

Additionally, AmInvestment understood that there would also be a possibility that the reallocations of the 700MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz bands, expected by the end of this year, might also be postponed.

This was also the case in Singapore, where the spectrum auction for 2x10MWz of 900MHz band and 40MHz in the 2.3GHz band earmarked for a fourth telco operator has been delayed by six months to the third quarter of this year.

Thus, AmInvestment concluded that impact estimates are premature at this stage given that the spectrum assignment fee may be staggered over a longer period, which could partially mitigate the full quantum.

“The current Apparatus Assignment fee structure, which is based on raw site and equipment numbers, translated to RM70mil for Maxis, Celcom and Digi in 2015.

“Thailand’s four operators paid an average US$1.18/MHz per capita for the 900MW and 1800MH auctions late last year.

“However, Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority has set a reserve price of S$35mil for 60MHz in the 900MHz band or just US$0.10/MHz per capita to entice a fourth celco operator in February this year,” said AmInvestment that maintained a ‘neutral’ call on the sector given the ongoing intense mobile competition amid uncertainties from the new spectrum re-pricing structure.

The research house reiterated a “buy” on Axiata on stronger contributions from overseas businesses, propelled by the value accretive NCELL acquisition in Nepal together with support from domestic roaming arrangement for high speed broadband and backhaul collaboration with TM.

AmInvestment maintained its “hold” calls for the other three major players namely Maxis, Digi and TM.