DiGi Looking For Alternate Routes

Malaysian DiGi, which is 61 per cent controlled by Norway’s Telenor, is prepared to spend as much as RM 500 million if it is successful in getting a WiMAX wireless internet licence, Business Times reports.
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access technology) is similar to a long-range version of the popular Wi-Fi technology that lets computers near a wireless router surf the Internet. While the Wi-Fi’s range is limited to metres, WiMax can, theoretically, work over tens of kilometres, allowing towns or cities to be blanketed with wireless coverage.
DiGi is looking at buying the licence, as the company lacks a Malaysian licence to sell high-speed mobile services via a so-called third-generation solution – 3G.
The WiMAX can substitute the missing 3G licence and ensure that DiGi avoids falling further behind rivals “Telekom Malaysia” and “Maxis Communications”, which have both started 3G services.

Long term investment
Although the licence for the mobile-based WiMAX will be issued this year, building a complete infrastructure could take up to three years.
But industry executives estimate the time frame, could work in DiGi’s favour as it would coincide with the time, when most mobile phones in Malaysia are expected to have broadband Internet access, Business Times writes.
DiGi has thus far resisted buying network capacity from the companies that won Malaysia’s last two 3G licences in March, insisting that it will pursue alternative technologies to compete with Maxis and Telekom.
Currently, there are no companies with the spectrum rights to provide mobile-based WiMAX services in Malaysia, although tier two telephone service provider NasionCom Holdings has a licence to provide fixed-based WiMAX services.
NasionCom is in the early stages of building the country’s maiden fixed WiMAX system at a cost of about RM200 million.
NasionCom and its arch rival REDtone International are also said to be planning to submit bids for the mobile-based WiMAX spectrum rights.

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