Companies linked to Green Packet Bhd, YTL e-Solutions and now REDtone International Bhd are believed to be the frontrunners for the WiMAX 2.3GHz spectrum, industry analysts said.
Analyst said the three players were providing the financial resources to the small players who had the expertise for deployment of WiMAX .
The 17 companies that submitted bids include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, MiTV Corp Bhd, NasionCom Sdn Bhd, REDtone-CNX Broadband Sdn Bhd, Packet One (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (formerly MIB Comm Sdn Bhd).
The others are Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd, Asiaspace dotcom Sdn Bhd, Celcom Timur (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, Fibrecomm Network (M) Sdn Bhd, SGR Capital Sdn Bhd, GO Lightspeed Broadband Sdn Bhd, Bizsurf (M) Sdn Bhd, IP Mobility Sdn Bhd, Optical Communications Engineering Sdn Bhd and Electcoms Wireless Sdn Bhd.
Of the 17, Packet One is a 55% subsidiary of Green Packet while Bizsurf is a 50%-associate of YTL e-Solutions. REDtone-CNX Broadband is a subsidiary of REDtone.
He said Green Packet and YTL e-Solutions could provide Packet One and Bizsurf the financial muscle for a nationwide rollout.
As for REDtone, he said the company was looking to raise some RM350 million through equity and debt financing to roll out WiMAX.
“Initially it looked as though TM, Maxis and DiGi would get the licence as they have the capex for a nationwide rollout. But that is not the case now,” an industry analyst told the Edge FinancialDaily.
Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik told reporters last week he was inclined to award the licence to “new players.”
A total of four licences are up for grabs but Lim has previously said that he may choose to award two blocks first. The licences are due to be released by the end of this week.
All three counters of Green Packet, YTL e-Solutions and REDtone have appreciated in the last week, with REDtone’s shares surging to a year high of RM1.09 on Feb 23.
However, industry analysts are confident TM, Maxis and DiGi would not lose out as they would still be able to offer WiMAX through alternative bandwaves.
Another industry analyst said TM, Maxis and DiGi could still be WiMAX players by optimising the 2.5GHz bandwave, which was previously allocated for fixed wireless broadband technology.
Both TM and Maxis already have 2.5GHz spectrums and the latter is currently conducting trials on the 2.5GHz band with Motorola. The 2.5GHz band has been utilised in the US for WiMAX by mobile giant Sprint Nextel and operates similarly to the 2.3GHz spectrum.
As for DiGi, an industry player said the company could obtain the 2.5GHz spectrum for WiMAX if it fails to secure the 2.3GHz licence.
The other bidders with a 2.5GHz licence are REDTone CNX broadband, through its parent company’s partnership with EB Technologies Sdn Bhd and Jaring Communications.
The Edge FinancialDaily reported in December last year that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had set up a working group to look into the utilisation of the 2.5GHz bandwave for WiMAX.