Malaysia awards 4 WiMAX licenses, shuns large telcos

Malaysia's government awarded four new wireless broadband licenses to small, emerging companies, shunning established phone companies in a bid to diversify the telecommunications market, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said a WiMAX license each went to Green Packet, REDtone International, YTL E-Solutions and Asiaspace Dotcom, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said in a statement.

The winners will each invest up to 300 million ringgit ($86 million) in the first three years to roll out services, the statement added. There was no license fee, the report said.

The companies beat out 13 other applicants, including Malaysia 's main telecommunications heavyweights Maxis Communications, Telekom Malaysia, and DiGi.Com, the report said.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said the evaluation for the license considered multiple technology strategy needs, noting that a wireless broadband spectrum had been allocated to small companies in the past few years, the Associated Press report said.

Winners are expected to roll out the service to a quarter of the population in their designated areas by year-end, and at least 40% by the end of the third year, it added.