Cheaper to use single provider approach for 5G, says Annuar

by AZREEN HANI / pic by AFP

THE government is using a single provider approach to reduce the overall cost of implementing 5G infrastructure, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

He said this approach is cheaper compared to if developed by several separate service provider companies. This in turn will allow lower service prices to be offered to consumers.

“A single provider approach will also optimise the use of frequency spectrum which is a limited national resource. Through this method, the allocation of 5G broad spectrum to Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) will guarantee higher service quality as well as much faster data download rates,” he added.

According to Annuar, previously the frequency spectrum for 3G and 4G services was distributed to several service provider companies. As a result, users still face issues of service quality and frequent unsatisfactory download rates.

“It is not up to DNB to set the price, which may be high, and then charge it to the mobile network operators (MNOs), and neither can MNOs set their own price,” he added.

The setting of the price to obtain three spectra to roll out the 5G network is done through consultation with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) using the ‘Reference Access Order’, said Annuar.

According to the minister the 5G network development work has already begun in September 2021.

It will be rolled out in stages starting at the end of 2021 in Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur, and will be expanded to other areas throughout the country starting in 2022.

DNB has targeted up to 80% of populated areas to get 5G coverage within 3 years, Annuar said.

DNB has previously clarified that extensive discussions have been and are taking place with telcos on the country’s 5G rollout, under the supervision and guidance of MCMC.

DNB, in a statement on the weekend, said telcos’ feedback, particularly their readiness, has been taken into consideration in the planned rollout.

The country’s sole 5G wholesale service provider noted that the company has incorporated feedback from the telcos on key areas regarding the design and implementation of its 5G Radio Access Network.

“This is a continuous process between DNB, the telcos and our regulator (MCMC) with different focused working groups for technology, cybersecurity and commercial tracks. Further, DNB’s 5G network is compliant with the Third Generation Partnership Project requirements, which set the standards for 5G networks worldwide,” the company said.