The Finance Ministry has announced the Special Purpose Vehicle to oversee the 5G infrastructure and network deployment will be called Digital Nasional Berhad. The body will be headed by Dato Asri Hamidon Chief Secretary Finance Ministry, Committee Chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Yusof bin Ismail Deputy General of MAMPU and Chief Executive Ralph Marshall (formerly of Maxis Berhad).
With this DNB will now be officialy licensed under the Communication and Multimedia Act and would be subjected to regulatory oversight of MCMC just like any other licensee in the communications and multimedia industry. This is regardless whether the entity is wholly owned by the Government. Under the Act, MCMC will regulate and monitor DNB via the relevant regulatory tools, to ensure optimum use of spectrum and that all telecommunications service providers will have open, fair and equal access in obtaining wholesale 5G network services for the development of retail services based on 5G technology.
There has been contention what the new entity’s role will be once established, with the mix of both public and private figures helming the board at DNB a more collective consensus could be reached on the final spectrum rollout. As for Ralph Marshall, the low profile corporate leader has been billionaire Ananda Krishna’s general during the early days in Maxis when the telco was founded, his background although illustrious is also tainted with bribery accusations in India. Hopefully this black spot does not affect his task in ensuring 5G is deployed successfully and efficiently for the good of the nation.
According to MCMC, DNB will act only as a wholesale neutral party while leaving the telecommunication companies to focus on technologies in developing and improving on quality of service, better offerings for consumer, enterprises and even the Government, telco’s can also continue with their 4G and JENDELA program which is picking up momentum. The manner in which the wholesale services are offered by DNB will also be closely monitored by MCMC under the provisions of the CMA 1998. It adds that the speed and cost savings of the 5G deployment can be passed on to benefit the end users.
In the meantime the governing body will remain focused on ensuring improved quality and expanded coverage of digital connectivity, and to facilitate new economic growth for the country through the opportunities that 5G will bring about.