The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has announced its intent to forgo a typical spectrum auction for some of its available 5G bands, instead opting for a consortium approach

The MCMC recently announced it will be allocating 5G spectrum across four bands, with commercial deployment expected in the third quarter of 2020.
These bands are the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz, 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands. MCMC will initially assign two blocks of 30 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, with the higher bands expected to follow at a later date. 
To this point, MCMC’s announcement appears unremarkable: these bands are the same that have been identified and allocated in other countries around the world. 
However, for the initial lower band allocations, Malaysia is following an innovative and potentially risky strategy. 
There will be no auction process. Instead, bands will be assigned to a consortium formed of various licensees via a tender process.  
This decision comes in an effort increase the efficiency of the country’s infrastructure deployment via shared investment, decreasing capex.
Criteria for membership of this consortium is expected to be revealed in the first quarter of this year, but whether this will offer a level playing field for all telcos remains to be seen. 
Similarly, the ways in which the telcos will work together could present a risk for the country’s 5G rollout. As notoriously uncomfortable bedfellows, loggerheads between telcos could make this innovative strategy a very risky one for Malaysia.  
As for the higher band licenses, these will be allocated in a more somewhat more traditional manner. The 24.9–26.5 GHz band licenses will be assigned through a nationwide tender process, while the final band, 26.5–28.1 GHz, will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis. This band will be available to anyone, not only telcos, for the purpose of highly localised networks. 
Also in the news: