Telcos call for Malaysia to set up a second 5G network

Telcos call for Malaysia to set up a second 5G network

Mobile carriers in Malaysia want a more level-playing field and greater participation by the private sector in 5G.

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Telcos in Malaysia are asking for a second 5G service to be created before the government decides if they want to go ahead with a single wholesale network.

Four telcos – Axiata Group's Celcom, DiGi.com , Maxis and U Mobile IPO-UMOB.KL –have petitioned the government allow two wholesale 5G networks, each to be built and operated by a consortium of carriers

This follows a disagreement last month between mobile operators and the Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) the government agency tasked with implementing 5G. Currently, the plan is for DNB to be the sole wholesaler of 5G, and which would build, own and operate the network and lease spectrum to mobile providers.

The Malaysian cabinet will decide next month whether to allow multiple 5G providers, Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa said earlier this month.

After a one-year delay due to the pandemic and a change in government, Malaysia’s first 5G network was launched last month in was launched in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.

By next year, 5G will be also be expanded to major cities and districts in Selangor, Penang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Another 17 cities will be covered by 2023.

A report from Reuters had indicated that the four operators had made a presentation to the Malaysia government and proposed a consortium commence the two networks in parallel next year and separate them in 2023 to give Malaysia a “fast initial deployment and ensure the security of dual competing networks going forward".

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