PETALING JAYA: Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) has confirmed that 5G access is currently available in 38% of the populated areas nationwide.
This comes after Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil tweeted that DNB needed to explain how it reached its Jan 3 claim of 50% populated area coverage.
The sole wholesale service network (SWN) operator clarified that the roughly 4,000 “integrated” sites deployed in compliance with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) technical requirements has almost 50% coverage of populated areas (COPA).
The company then explains that only 2,800 of the sites have been selected for onboarding by local telcos or Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which accounts for about 38% of COPA.
“DNB is required to deliver integrated sites and have them ready to be ‘onboarded’, the timing of which is dependent upon the MNOs.
“The MNOs are aware of all sites that are ready and available to connect with their respective networks. It is then up to the MNOs to decide which sites and when they intend to onboard.
“Once a site has been onboarded, it then becomes available to end users for all the MNOs that have executed the Access Agreement with DNB,” it said in a statement.
DNB added that it had observed a significant increase in the number of onboarded sites, with hundreds of integrated sites being onboarded each week on average.
It also mentioned a decreasing gap between the number of prepared sites and those that have been brought on board by MNOs recently.
Early last month, the government-owned DNB had expressed that it was on target to achieve 80% nationwide coverage by 2024, while the government expects to finalise the review of 5G rollout within the quarter.
A more recent report from Jan 31 stated that DNB might also be considering the addition of a second 5G vendor aside from Ericsson.
The MNOs that have already signed 5G access agreements with DNB include U Mobile, CelcomDigi, Telekom Malaysia and YTL Communications.