At the presentation of the Budget 2023, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that the government will administer the state-owned 5G single wholesale network (SWN), Digital Nasional Berhad, more openly and reach 80 percent 5G population coverage by the end of 2023. Minister of Communications and Multimedia Fahmi Fadzi met with all telecoms today and stated that the government will attempt to reach the accelerated 5G coverage objective one year ahead of DNB's initial goal of achieving 80% 5G population coverage by the end of 2024.
At the Prime Minister's address, it was stated that the 5G deployment will guarantee the involvement of all national telcos. The primary objective, according to him, is to create nationwide 5G coverage that is extensive and affordable for the general public.
The government may be receptive to a dual wholesale network (DWN) or enable carriers to refarm their current spectrum in order to speed the launch of 5G by one year. There is a potential that telecoms might be granted a greater interest in DNB if telcos are participating more. This might end up closely resembling the 2020 proposal of the former Pakatan Harapan administration for a partnership of private carriers to develop 5G technology.
DNB plans to attain 80 percent 5G population coverage by the end of 2024 with a total of 7,509 5G stations, according to its current 5G rollout strategy. DNB said earlier this year that it has surpassed its end-2022 5G population coverage objective of 40% with a stated 47.1% 5G population coverage over 3,900 locations, surpassing the target by a wide margin. After being reprimanded by the Minister, DNB stated that its accessible 5G sites cover just 38% of populous regions in Malaysia, with the other locations still requiring telco onboarding.
To install the 5G infrastructure, Malaysia will require the collaboration of all stakeholders, including DNB and telcos, if it want to speed 5G rollout and achieve 80% population coverage by the end of this year. With DNB's present 5G infrastructure, Malaysia may deploy over 10,000 5G sites by the end of the year if the four largest telecommunications companies add 1,000 5G sites every month. Placing 5G equipment on the telco's existing fiber-optic 4G sites would be faster than acquiring new sites, which will require other obstacles to overcome, including local government permissions.
To minimize duplication of networks and provide equitable access for everyone, 5G sites may be shared by all participants utilizing Multi-Operator Core Networks (MOCN) and non-discriminatory and transparent access conditions. To guarantee that 5G stays inexpensive for everybody, the government must control 5G wholesale pricing via the Mandatory Standard of Access Pricing (MSAP), which will result in reasonable retail prices for consumers.