Malaysia’s mobile market becoming ‘overcrowded’

The changing landscape of the Malaysian telecom market has over time witnessed the restructuring of all the main players, reports Research & Markets. The government has been a strong supporter of the rationalisation of what had been seen as an ‘overcrowded’ operator market at times, this concern referring specifically to the mobile segment.

A particularly significant merger between Telekom and Celcom took place early on, creating a lot of interest. At the same time, but with less fanfare, Maxis acquired Time dotCom’s mobile unit. These changes resulted in the number of mobile operators being effectively reduced from five to three.

The allocation of 3G mobile licences has also been controversial with one of the operators initially missing out then picking up a licence in a surprising fashion. More recently incumbent Telekom Malaysia, as part of a major restructure, ‘decoupled’ its mobile and fixed-line businesses in a move that saw Celcom and its mobile operations become part of Telekom Malaysia International (TMI) which in turn became Axiata. Axiata has been building an influential regional presence in the mobile segment.

Coming into 2012, with three major mobile operators – Maxis, Celcom and DiGi - and one dominant fixed operator – Telekom Malaysia, the market generally offered a competitive environment. The mobile operators were locked in close combat: Maxis Communications had a mobile subscriber base of 14 million, with Celcom in second place on 12 million, while DiGi was number three with 10 million subscribers.

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