A proposed spectrum reauthorization and re-allocation by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission appears intended to fuel more competition in the market, by giving addiional lower-frequency spectrum to the two smaller mobile service providers, and taking that spectrum away from the two larger service providers. The lower-frequency spectrum is expected to allow the two smaller providers to reach more customers from any single tower site. 

The reallocation means that the two smallest operators will have access to a greater amount of capex-efficient spectrum, which will help them to challenge the market leaders, says Fitch Ratings.

The regulator plans to directly assign capacity in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands to the two larger operators Celcom and Maxis, and the two smaller firms (DiGi and mobile virtual network operator U-Mobile) by August 2016.

DiGi says it has gotten more 900 MHz spectrum (2x5MHz) with a smaller allocation at 1800 MHz (2×20 MHz). Maxis and Celcom said their spectrum allocations had each been reduced to 2×10 MHz and 2×20 MHz in both the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.

This also means U-Mobile will have 5 MHz at 900 MHz and 15 MHz at 1800 MHz. U-Mobile previously had spectrum only in the 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz bands.

In principle, the spectrum moves should allow the smaller carriers to better compete with the two bigger carriers.