PKR man questions delay on 5G rollout

What is the cause for telcos’ hesitation?


PKR treasurer and Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung has voiced out his concerns regarding the status of the government’s promise to deliver the 5G networks in Malaysia.

He said the country was supposed to start developing these networks in 2020 where Malaysia was meant to be one of the first nations in the South-East Asian region to embrace 5G technology.

“However, after the government collapsed and was replaced by the Perikatan Nasional government, and after 12 months of waiting, Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) was set up to spearhead the development of 5G through the single wholesale network model. 

“It was promised at that time that the 5G network would be launched in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya by the end of 2021. However, until today, there has been no progress in offering 5G services to the people,” the assemblyman said in a statement yesterday.

On March 29 this year, 70% of DNB’s shares were sold to four of Malaysia’s biggest telecommunication companies (telcos) — Celcom Axiata Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd — and they were given until the end of June to consider the offer.

Lee felt that these policy changes have delayed Malaysia’s 5G rollout whereas the share prices of Maxis, Digi and Celcom Axiata have suffered a loss of RM26 billion. 

If this persists, Malaysia will lag behind in mastering the consumption and application of 5G technology.

“The development of 5G infrastructure is a matter that is being observed at the international level and involving national competitiveness in the region should not be delayed even in the face of various political interventions and lobbying by certain parties,” he added.

Lee also questioned the government on why these telcos still refuse to state their consent to purchase data from DNB, what results are they expecting by the end of June and whether the installation and implementation of 5G is disrupted from frequently extended discussions?