KUALA LUMPUR: Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) has clarified that its discussions on the 5G rollout with telcommunication providers (telcos) are still ongoing and there have been no sign-ups so far as the Reference Access Offer (RAO) has yet to be published.
The country’s sole 5G wholesale service provider expects the RAO, which has to be published in accordance with the Mandatory Standards of Access, would be finalised by end-November upon the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) approval.
“DNB will begin commercial negotiations with the telcos (after finalising the ROA). Hence, we will only be able to sign up the telcos after the publication of the RAO.
“It is thus clear that DNB has not sought any sign-up and neither expects the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to sign anything until after the RAO is published,” the company said in a statement today.
DNB was clarifying the facts following a recent article on the 5G rollout in Malaysia by Reuters, claiming none of the telcos have agreed to use the government’s 5G network yet due to transparency and pricing issues.
“Reuters elected to ignore the facts presented and instead, regretfully, presented an inaccurate and lop-sided view,” it said.
DNB noted that it has drafted an RAO for 5G wholesale services and shared it with MCMC and key industry players in September to enable them to provide their feedback.
It has since then been in discussions with MCMC and the telcos to align around the final terms and conditions.
DNB also pointed out that it has conducted a successful trial integration of five telcos’ Core Networks to its 5G Radio Access Network (RAN).
Clarifying on allegations related to higher cost of 5G to the MNOs, DNB believes its cost per GB of 5G, which has been communicated to the telcos, is significantly lower than the cost to generate on their own networks.
It asserted that the incremental or marginal cost per GB of 4G of the telcos currently is at least 50sen.
The company also clarified that all listed telcos have outperformed the KLSE Composite Index since the announcement on the formation of DNB to roll out 5G in Malaysia through a single shared infrastructure.
“Clearly, investors do not believe the telcos will face value destruction. In fact, there is every reason (to believe) that the lower cost of 5G services from DNB should lead to higher net earnings and therefore, logically, translate into higher stock prices for these telcos,” it said.
Meanwhile, DNB pointed out that the government has had to budget an additional RM28bil of public and private money under the Jendela initiative to connect to less urban areas, which profit-driven MNOs have failed to provide coverage for.
It added that the telcos took seven years to reach 4G coverage in populated areas of 82.2%, while on the other hand, DNB targets to roll out 5G to more than 80% of coverage in populated areas by 2024. – Bernama