Malaysia to build second 5G network

Malaysia to build second 5G network

Malaysia confirmed reports that it will end its single 5G network strategy and build a second to assuage operator concerns on competition and pricing, stemming from the previous admiration’s strategy.

Communications minister Fahmi Fadzil said a second state-owned entity will be launched to manage a new network once the current vehicle Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) reaches 80% coverage in populated areas, reported Reuters.

"This model also takes into account the sustainability of the telecommunications industry ecosystem in Malaysia thus ending the monopoly element that is often associated with DNB," said Fahmi.

Recently the EU and US had warned Malaysia of straying from its single network plan, as it could open the door for vendors they deemed to be threats to national security, into Malaysian infrastructure.

Currently, DNB has achieved 57.8% coverage in populated areas and is on track to hit 80% by the end of the year, said Fahmi. This means a new state agency to launch Malaysia’s second 5G network could be in operation by next year, a Reuters report claimed the network will be introduced in January.

This latest development comes after the new Malaysian government scrutinise the previous government’s single-network strategy, claiming it lead would to monopolies and high prices. Arguments for a single network claimed improved efficiency and acceleration of infrastructure deployment. However, Malaysia has been one of the slowest south-east Asian nations to deploy 5G with multiple setbacks stemming from getting operators on board with this unprecedented strategy.

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