Govt to finalise review of 5G rollout this quarter

04 Jan 2023 - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia expects “some kind of finality” in its review of the 5G mobile services contract by this quarter, says Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

The government’s concerns with the 5G services range from the contracts signed to the speed of the network rollout, Fahmi said in an interview with local radio station BFM 89.9.

The government had a meeting yesterday with state-run Digital Nasional Bhd, the network’s owner, he added.

The network is being rolled out by the local unit of Swedish telecom major Ericsson AB and DNB.

“Prior to this, the Finance Ministry did not have full horizon visibility of the contractual obligations, whether it’s about Ericsson,” he said.

“I believe there’s 145 contracts that DNB has signed. But more than that, it’s about the speed of rollout.”

DNB in a statement on Monday said that Malaysia’s 5G network has achieved almost 50% coverage of populated areas with some 3,900 sites as at end-2022 – exceeding the target of 40%.

These figures would take the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission two weeks to verify, said Fahmi.

Fahmi said that as of Nov 30, DNB had rolled out 2,575 5G towers, according to the MCMC.

This compared to the company’s forecast of 3,433 towers by that period, he said.

DNB must roll out a total 3,518 towers, he added.

Another key aspect was that just 87% of the cellular towers were “fiberised”, said Fahmi.

“So that means if people have been complaining, ‘yeah we have 5G but it’s still only about 30-40 MBps, not the 100-200, whatever that’s been touted’.

“A lot of it might be because, where they are, the towers are not fiberised yet,” said Fahmi.


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