According to a report by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the government could be reconsidering the single wholesale model for the nation’s 5G network rollout under Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB).
“After receiving a second opinion and feedback from industry players, the Cabinet is reconsidering the single wholesale model under DNB,” said communications and multimedia minister Annuar Musa. Annuar was speaking at a press conference after a joint venture signing between CS Cloud Sdn Bhd and Cloocus Co Ltd.
In case you are unaware, DNB is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that’s wholly owned by the finance ministry, which was established to be the sole provider of 5G infrastructure in Malaysia. Once the infrastructure was established, DNB was then to come to a wholesale agreement with mobile network operators so that they can offer 5G services to the public.
The reported benefits of such a model included lower cost of rolling out a robust 5G network, as well as a supply driven model which should mean good news for the people living in rural areas.
DNB has very ambitious plans for 5G rollout, with them intending to deliver 500 sites to achieve 10% coverage in populated areas by the end of 2021. On top of that, they plan to achieve 80% coverage in populated areas by 2024, which is an aggressive timeline to say the least.
They’ve also announced yesterday that their network was already ready to offer 5G services starting next Wednesday, the 15th of December 2021. In fact, DNB is offering free wholesale 5G services to all mobile network operators in Malaysia until the 31st of March 2021. However, it would appear that the telcos are a little hesitant to sign on, with TM being the only telco to confirm participation in the 5G user trial, as of our report yesterday.
With this recent statement by Annuar Musa, it would appear that DNB’s plans might run into a bit of a roadblock depending on how the government decides. He told FMT that the issue was raised in Parliament and that the government will now consider whether or not to allow multiple providers and competition between industry players.
“We hope to have a final decision by next month,” said Annuar.