Malaysia on Wednesday revoked the 5G telecommunications spectrum it handed out to major domestic telecoms players and a private firm after controversy over the process done without a tender.
The communications and multimedia ministry said in a statement that it was cancelling the instructions for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to allocate the spectrum to the five companies.
"Due to technical and legal issues, and the need to follow a transparent process, I have instructed the MCMC chairman to revoke the order and to review the instruments immediately," Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said.
In a notice dated May 15 and posted on the commission's website, the ministry had said the 700 MHz 5G spectrum went to local units of Axiata Group, Digi.Com and Maxis, as well as Telekom Malaysia and private firm Altel Communications.
At the start of this year, MCMC said the award of the 5G spectrum band was being considered to a consortium of multiple licensees, rather than individual ones.
It had said it would undertake a tender process intended to cut costs and avoid infrastructure duplication amid improvements to 4G networks.
MCMC had identified the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26/28 GHz as the pioneer spectrum bands for the 5G roll-out in Malaysia.
(Reporting by Liz Lee and Joseph Sipalan; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jason Neely)