5G deployment to cost RM12.5b

DNB may need an additional RM1.5b for telecom fibre over 10 years from TM

pic credit: digital-nasional.com.my

THE cost of the country’s 5G coverage inclusive of network hardware and infrastructure is at RM12.5 billion, said Deputy Finance Minister II Yamani Hafez Musa.

He told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday this estimated cost was made as Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) may need an additional RM1.5 billion for telecom fibre over 10 years from Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM).

“The initial estimate of the cost of this 5G coverage network was RM11 billion.

“RM4 billion was for network hardware and managed services for 10 years by Ericsson (Malaysia Sdn Bhd), RM6 billion was for network infrastructure costs from other providers, namely for towers, telecommunications fibre, electricity and other costs, while a further RM1 billion was for the payment of Apparatus Assignment fees to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission,” he said during a question and answer session yesterday.

Yamani Hafez also said that apart from Ericsson, the suppliers, contractors and companies that will be involved in the implementation of the 5G network generally will consist of site owners, telecommunication fibre owners and electricity suppliers.

DNB is still negotiating to appoint suppliers, contractors and companies for implementation under Phase 1A in 2021.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government should give a definitive figure of the cost or it could risk becoming another scandal like 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Yamani said DNB will engage with all of the lawmakers over the issue.

Separately, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul accused former Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah and Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz of forging “secret deals” over the 5G rollout.

Zahidi said he could be left in the dark as he is an Umno leader and that the discussion on the rollout was only limited between Saifuddin and Tengku Zafrul.

“This project is the rakyat’s project worth RM20 billion and there is also a monopoly here. So, we want to know, why is Ericsson monopolising? Why is DNB monopolising it? As we want to know what the mitigation plan is, the risk management. Because if Ericsson goes bankrupt, what happens to this project?” he said at a press conference at the Parliament.

Last week, he also censured the 5G rollout, saying that the Finance Ministry has made a unilateral decision on the matter.

Tengku Zafrul, however, said that he has been constantly engaging with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia over the matter.

DNB appointed Ericsson to accelerate the deployment of Malaysia’s nationwide 5G network and ecosystem in July this year.