Malaysia to launch second 5G network alongside DNB 


The 5G Task Force is set to meet today to discuss the launch of the network
The Malaysian government have announced the go-ahead for a second national 5G rollout, after that of the first network reached 80% coverage. 

The second network, which was announced in May last year by communications minister and government spokesman Fahmi Fadzil, is being launched to compete with the government’s 5G vehicle Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), which currently has monopoly on the 5G market. 

The Malaysian government launched DNB back in 2021, eschewing the traditional 5G spectrum auction in favour of a developing a single, government-run 5G network operator from which existing mobile players could purchase services on a wholesale basis. 

The decision was highly unpopular among the Malaysian mobile operators, who initially said they would not purchase services from DNB. However, after years of negotiations,at the end of October last year, DNB announced that Malaysia’s five mobile network operators  – CelcomDigi Berhad (CelcomDigi) through Infranation Sdn Bhd, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd (Maxis), U Mobile Sdn Bhd (U Mobile), Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM,) and YTL Power International Bhd (YTL) – had finally agreed to each take a 14% stake in DNB. As per the agreement, each MNO will contribute $50 million to the company for its funding requirements. 

The government retains a 30% stake in the business. 

The Malaysian government had previously announced that when the country’s 5G coverage reached 80% in populated areas, a second 5G network to rival DNB could be rolled out. The figure now stands at 80.2%, after being under construction since 2021. 

According to an article published in Malaysian news outlet Bernama, the country’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim welcomed the idea of a new network, saying it would break up the state-run monopoly and to encourage competition within the market.  

The decision on the second network, the article states, will now be forwarded onto the cabinet who will make a decision on the network within a month. 

“The government will not take long to consider and make an announcement of a shift from a single to dual 5G network coverage,” said Fadzil. “After that the dual 5G can be implemented if the terms agreed by the task force are achieved.” 

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