Several telcos have announced their support for the upcoming implementation of the second national 5G network. This came several hours after the Communications and Digital Minister, Fahmi Fadzil announced the Cabinet’s decision to move on from the existing Single Wholesale Network (SWN) model to 5G dual network.
Even though their statements were released separately, the tone used by these telcos in their announcement is generally similar to each other. As you may expect, among the companies that have publicly announced their support for the new 5G rollout plan are Maxis and U Mobile.
Both companies have previously refused to invest in DNB when the government offered local telcos stakes in the special purpose vehicle created by the Ministry of Finance. Unlike Maxis, U Mobile did sign the access agreement with DNB which allowed it to provide 5G services to customers despite not having any stakes in DNB.
However, the statement from Maxis did not specifically mention whether its customers will be able to utilize 5G anytime soon. At the same time, it is also unclear if Maxis is actually waiting for the rollout of the second network before it would finally offer 5G service to customers.
In addition to that, CelcomDigi has also expressed its support for the new policy. In fact, a separate filing to the Bursa Malaysia noted that Celcom and Digi have even terminated their Share Subscription Agreement with DNB although this move does not affect their abilities to provide 5G services to customers as the access agreement is a separate matter altogether.
Meanwhile, TM has also released a statement to indicate its alignment with the dual network model. Some may see this as a surprise given that TM is one of the first to sign the access agreement with DNB but then again, the country’s largest telco company which is also a massive GLC doesn’t usually stray away from the government’s policy.
Despite this week’s announcement, the shift to DWN will only take place after the existing national 5G infrastructure company, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) achieve 80% 5G coverage of populated areas. This is something that DNB originally intend to deliver by late next year but the dateline has since been moved much earlier to the end of 2023 as per what has been announced by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim during the tabling of Belanjawan 2023 [pdf – page 35.].
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