Established telecom operators, including Maxis Communications and Telekom Malaysia, were passed over as the Malaysian government awarded regional WiMax service licenses to four small firms in an effort to diversify the nation’s telecom market. Although nearly 80% of Malaysia’s population of 26 million subscribes to wireless telephone services, the nation’s market for WiFi, WiMax and other wireless broadband services remains in its infancy. Unlike WiFi, which offers wireless Internet connectivity within the confines of a building or neighborhood, WiMax may provide connectivity for Internet, voice, video and other services over distances as great as 30 miles and is therefore touted as a cost-effective method of spreading broadband services to rural areas. After considering applications submitted by 17 firms, the government issued licenses to Green Packet Bhd., REDtone International Bhd., YTL E Solutions and Asiaspace. The license winners are expected to invest between U.S. $71 million and $86 million over the next three years to implement their respective WiMax networks. REDtone, a provider of broadband services to various urban areas in the Malaysian peninsula, will roll out WiMax services in East Malaysia. The remaining companies will operate within assigned areas in peninsular Malaysia. Each licensee is required to provide service, at speeds of at least 1 Mbps, to 25% of the population within their assigned areas within a year and to 40% of the population within three years.