Communications Ministry to meet telcos Monday over transition to dual 5G network model, says Fahmi

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — The Ministry of Communications and Digital is scheduled to meet telecommunications companies (telcos) on Monday following the Cabinet’s decision to rollout 5G network with state agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) until 80 per cent of the population coverage is reached, upon which it will shift to a dual wholesale network model.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil reiterated that the transition to the dual network system is expected to begin next year.

“This is to ensure that we have the redundancy aspect, or more than one to avoid problems if anything happens to one network, we still have a backup,” he told reporters at the Raya +Fluencer at the Telekom Museum here.

He explained that the dual wholesale network model involves more than one entity and there will be several telcos under each entity.

He adds that it is hoped that the transition from the single wholesale network model will end the 5G monopoly currently held by DNB and provides a “win-win” solution for the public.

Fahmi also said that 4G coverage in the country is still not ideal, as the figure of 96.92 per cent is only an aggregate or composite percentage of coverage of all telecommunications companies.

He said practically, this has resulted in consumers having to use two different service providers to get coverage in different areas.

“For instance, when they return to their hometown, there is no coverage for Telco A, and in turn, consumers have to spend more for Telco B. I have instructed for this matter to be resolved starting in June,” he said.

Earlier this week, Fahmi said Malaysia will continue the rollout of 5G with state agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) until 80 per cent of population coverage is reached, upon which it will transition to a dual wholesale network model.

DNB is the holder of Malaysia’s 5G spectrum. It has been tasked to develop Malaysia’s 5G infrastructure and lease it out to the telecommunications companies under the single wholesale network model. It is set to achieve 80 per cent coverage by end-2023, from 50 per cent at end-2022.

The company is 35 per cent-owned by the government, while the remaining 65 per cent is split between Celcom Axiata Bhd (12.5 per cent), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (12.5 per cent), YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (20 per cent), and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (20 per cent).

DNB was established in early March 2021 to accelerate the deployment of 5G infrastructure and network in Malaysia. It will offer 5G as a wholesale network service to other telcos.


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