Putrajaya To Offer Equal 5G Access For Telecommunications Service Providers In Malaysia

The Minister of Finance (MOF) Malaysia, Tengku Zafrul Aziz highlighted that all telecommunications service providers will have open, fair, and equal access in obtaining wholesale 5G network services of retail services based on 5G technology.

The statement was followed with the announcement of the appointments for Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) board members with Chief Secretary of Treasury of MOF, Asri Hamidon as chairman.

The appointments are a mix of specialisations like public finance, telecom regulatory, telecommunications, information technology and legal to provide the sufficient experiences and skills to manage 5G networks in the country.

The JENDELA programme was devised by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) last year after MCO 1.0 showed much disparity in network coverage, especially for the suburban and rural community.

With the government taking over, the burden of 5G will not be on the service providers, keeping the digital divide risk at a minimum throughout the implementation of 5G, the operators can continue with their fiber and 4G network rollout.

DNB will offer 5G services via a wholesale model that is regulated to ensure better transparency and implementation.

Additionally, the commercial rollout will be managed based on the appropriate governance framework, an open tender process for the 5G infrastructure development, and global best practices to ensure proper controls.

“It is important that our 5G network is deployed quickly, systematically and professionally to accelerate our growth initiatives through MyDigital, which aims at ensuring socio-economic progress and inclusivity for all Malaysians.

Playing catch-up is not an option as the world increasingly embraces technology such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and digital twin to create fresh opportunities for future growth,” Tengku Zafrul said.

According to MOF, the private sector players focus on developing better products and services, without being saddled by heavy and duplicative capital expenditure in which a win-win situation for all parties including the telco players, businesses, and consumers.

However, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research stated that awarding 5G spectrum and infrastructure buildout rights to a government-owned entity will likely drive wholesale costs higher, hurt operator margins and hamper the development of 5G services in Malaysia.

“A centrally-coordinated rollout of 5G infrastructure in Malaysia would – in our view – be inefficient and likely to incur higher levels of capex compared to a scenario where operators pursue their own buildouts and network sharing arrangements,” the Research report stated.

Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced that Putrajaya will be investing RM15 billion over a span of ten years to bring 5G services to the country.

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