The Malaysian government will sell its wholesale 5G network company Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) once it reaches 80% coverage, as the new administration continues to dismantle the previous government’s efforts of a single 5G network.
Speaking to Bernama TV, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chief operating officer Mohammed Ali Hanafiah Mohd Yunus, revealed another entity will take over DNB once it reaches 80% coverage in populated locations and make it a fully private company, Malay Mail reported.
The previous government launched DNB in 2021, an unprecedented and controversial move to have a singular 5G network that operators equally shared 65% equity, with the rest held by the government. It argued this would streamline the deployment of infrastructure, keeps costs low and accelerates coverage. However, as Malaysia wrangled with operators on how to conduct its 5G strategy, south-east Asian neighbours have advanced further.
Last week, the government announced it will build a second 5G network and abolish the one 5G network policy that was in place. Prior to the announcement, the US and European nations singled out Huawei in their warning to the Malaysian government if it went ahead with its second network.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE have long been accused of potentially providing security backdoor to national infrastructures through their equipment, accusations they have long denied.
As part of Malaysia’s previous single network plan, Ericsson was the exclusive vendor partner, but critics have argued marrying itself to one partner would prove expensive and will pass the cost down to subscribers.