Communications and Multimedia Minister (MenKomm) Tan Sri Annuar Musa has revealed that Selangor will be prioritised for 5G services. He told Bernama that his Ministry will make Selangor a priority for the implementation and network upgrades to 5G.
He shared that under the JENDELA programme, Selangor has received the biggest allocation of RM5.34 billion to improve the existing 4G networks, increase fibre broadband access to homes and upgrade existing 3G towers to 4G. A total of 313 new mobile towers have been erected so far in the state with 35 more towers that are still under construction. Meanwhile, 7,197 transmitters have been upgraded to 4G and there are 652 more still in progress.
In terms of fibre connectivity, he shared that 419,896 new premises now have access to fibre and it’s coming soon to 196,422 more premises. Recently, the Minister shared that JENDELA is showing encouraging results in Q1 2022 with average mobile speeds now exceeding 40Mbps.
At the moment, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB)’s 5G network covers primarily Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. In the past few months, they have been expanding their coverage to Selangor including select areas of Rawang, Petaling Jaya, Sri Kembangan, Ampang and Cheras.
Earlier last month, DNB also teased that it has begun 5G deployment in Johor Bahru. According to the coverage map, they have several live 5G sites around Bandar Baru Uda, Danga Bay and Kawasan Perindustrian Dato Onn in the southern state.
DNB’s actual 5G deployment roadmap
According to DNB’s 5G roadmap, it aims to achieve 40% 5G population coverage by the end of 2022. They plan to achieve this by having a total of 4,018 sites located in Penang, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Perak by the end of this year. Under Phase 2 which will start in 2023, DNB will then expand to Pahang, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Labuan, Melaka and Terengganu. It aims to hit 80% 5G population coverage with 7,509 sites by the end of 2024.
Big four telcos still reluctant to sign 5G wholesale agreement with DNB
While 5G network deployment is still ongoing, availability to consumers is rather limited as YTL Communications’ Yes 5G is still the only telco to offer 5G in Malaysia. TM has also signed up to participate in DNB’s 5G pilot trial but they have yet to offer any 5G-enabled services to consumers.
Following DNB’s publication of its Reference Access Offer (RAO), the big four telcos such as Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile do not agree to the terms of the 5G wholesale agreement. According to their recent joint statement, the majority of concerns and issues previously raised and discussed with the MCMC and DNB have not been addressed in the current document. It called for DNB’s RAO to be consistent with the industry best practices. The big four also said the RAO in its current form will not enable affordable and quality 5G services for the rakyat and businesses in Malaysia.
This appears to be yet another setback for mass 5G adoption in Malaysia. Among ASEAN countries, Malaysia is lagging behind when it comes to 5G due to a change of direction and a series of delays made by policymakers.