Fahmi: We Are Considering Whether To Continue With DNB Model For 5G

But the major telcos have a plan of their own.
(credit: DNB)

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Last Friday, 24 February, we reported that during the tabling of the Budget 2023, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar said at the end of 2022, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) 5G rollout has reached 50% coverage of populated areas and it is targeted to reach 80% coverage by the end of 2023.

The Unity Government, he added, is now taking an approach so that DNB is managed in a more transparent and inclusive manner to achieve full participation by telecommunication service providers. But now, the government is considering whether to continue with DNB Single Wholesale Network (SWN) model.

Malay Mail reports that the Minister of Communications and Digital, Fahmi Fadzil, announced that the government would make a decision soon about whether to proceed with DNB 5G rollout model, the SWN.

He stated that the ministry has consulted with all relevant telecommunications companies to establish guidelines for the high-speed internet service. The minister added that all telecommunications companies have expressed their interest in further discussions, and he anticipates reaching a decision in the coming days and weeks. He hopes that a conclusion can be reached before March regarding the matter.

However, the telcos could be considering another road to take. The Vibes reports that according to industry sources, Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile or collectively known as the “CDMU”, are making trying to establish another network for 5G rollout, effectively seeking to reintroduce the dual wholesale network (DWN) that was previously rejected by the government.

The CDMU are said to be testing the newly formed government’s commitment to the 5G rollout plan previously initiated by state-owned DNB. The companies are believed to have formally proposed the creation of their own 5G network, sensing that the new government might be receptive to their request.

Their desire for a second network appears to be linked to their wish for access to their own 5G spectrum, as the current arrangement with DNB would make them virtual network operators who do not own any spectrum but instead buy access to the 5G network.

However, this proposed model could mean that rural and less populated areas may not receive 5G connectivity as the major telcos may not see them as profitable areas. The telecom companies hope to gain greater autonomy over the 5G spectrum and manage their own infrastructure across the country rather than depending on the government.

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