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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 13:37 GMT
Malaysians name Wimax licensees
Mobile phone user
Malaysia currently lags behind hi-tech Singapore and South Korea
Malaysia's telecoms regulator has named four newcomers as winners of Wimax wireless high speed internet licences.

The winning bidders were Bizsurf Sdn Bhd, MIB Comm Sdn Bhd, Redtone-CNX Broadband Sdn Bhd and Asiaspace Dotcom Sdn Bhd.

The firms are expected to invest up to 300 million ringgit ($85.7m; 43.9m) within the service's first three years.

The MCMC (Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission) decision puts pressure on larger telecoms players.

The original tender attracted bids from 17 firms, including Malaysia's largest mobile operator Maxis Communications.

'Nimbler players'

Analysts say awarding the licences for Wimax to smaller firms is aimed at accelerating competition to connect more households wirelessly.

"The government is slowly trying to open up the telecommunications market from the big players by introducing smaller, nimbler players offering much more choice for consumers," said Kelvin Miranda, a fund manager with Asian Asset Management.

Wimax stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access and is similar to wi-fi (wireless fidelity), with which many laptops are equipped.

The technology has a higher capacity and operates across much longer distances and allows for voice, video, Internet and mobility services.

The rolling out of the Wimax network across Malaysia is part of the government's target for broadband penetration to reach 75% of households by 2010.

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