New M'sian broadband player to launch service

Mobile operator Mobif Wireless gets approval to deploy new wireless broadband network in Malaysia and will offer services by September.

MALAYSIA--Mobif Wireless Broadband (MWB) has received the go ahead to launch a new wireless broadband network in the country.

The mobile wireless service provider announced on Thursday that it has received the license from industry regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to use the 1790MHz frequency spectrum band, and will deploy its iBurst system to provide wireless broadband services to consumers by September.

iBurst is a wireless broadband system, based on a proprietary standard pioneered by Japanese company Kyocera Corporation and San Jose, U.S.-based ArrayComm. The network utilizes smart adaptive antenna technology to provide coverage of up to 13 km, operates within the 5MHz bandwidth and supports up to 1Mbps downlink transfer rate.

Kevin Leong, chief executive of MWB's parent company Mobif Bhd, said it will spend 500 million ringgit (US$145 million) over the next 36 months to roll out the service nationwide.

"We have begun rolling out the service in the Klang Valley and we expect to cover Penang, Johor Baru and Kuching by September," Leong said during a press briefing. To date, he said, iBurst has been deployed in 12 countries.

Several broadband players received licenses last month to roll out WiMax services in Malaysia. Asked if he was confident of taking on these rivals, Leong said: "Competition will always be there. We will not only compete on quality of service but also on pricing."

MWB plans to introduce its iBurst service at 88 ringgit (US$25.5) per month, with a minimum 12-month service contract. The company also signed an exclusive agreement with Kyocera to be the exclusive partner for the sales and marketing of the latter's wireless broadband technologies in Southeast Asia.

Under the deal, Kyocera will provide technical expertise while MWB will be the exclusive distributor for iBurst services and undertake sales and marketing activities for the system across the region.

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.