Friday, June 2, 2023

TM claiming itself as National 5G Infrastructure Provider, despite Malaysia Gov has not yet decided [Comment]

Telekom Malaysia (TM), the Telecommunication (Telco) provider that used to charge consumers and service provider a high price to access its broadband/fibre network now claims that it is Malaysia’s 5G Infrastructure Provider despite Malaysia has yet to finalise on 5G standard and deployment.

Picture by MalaysianWireless: A Telekom Malaysia (TM) 5G Base Station at Jalan SS 15/4D, Subang Jaya (infront Public Bank). The Telco Site is built on a public car park space despite it is a very congested area during peak hours with at least 3 Banks in the area (limited car park space).

At the moment, Malaysia has awarded 5G spectrum to Telcos for testing purposes at very limited areas but not for commercial deployment. In other words, there’s no guarantee that TM would be awarded a 5G spectrum for commercial deployment in the future but the Telco is advertising itself as a “National 5G Infrastructure Provider” in the country and likely misleading consumers.

Another part of the banner surrounding the base station shows that the claim by TM as a “National 5G Infrastructure Provider” is being supported by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ).

TM as “Penyedia Infrastruktur 5G Negara” in collaboration with Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ).

MalaysianWireless has reached out to MCMC for a comment.

While Malaysia is currently evaluating 700Mhz for the first time for mobile services, the claim by TM sounded like it got the entire 700Mhz spectrum for national 5G deployment despite no award has been given out yet. Other bands being evaluated for 4G and 5G include spectrum in 2300Mhz and 2600Mhz.

In response to a public inquiry from MCMC, TM said that intends to be the “National Telecommunications Infrastructure Provider” despite it doesn’t have a good track record yet in providing 4G mobile services. TM has a total 70Mhz spectrum for 4G mobile services (850Mhz+2300Mhz+2600Mhz) but it has yet to achieve comparable nationwide coverage with other mobile Telcos such as Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U Mobile. TM claims that it has close to 4,000 radio access sites, in comparison Maxis and Celcom Axiata each have more than 9,000 4G LTE sites nationwide.

Despite increased complaints on its existing national HSBB (High Speed Broadband) network which many have yet to be resolved especially on coverage matters, TM is proposing to MCMC that it intends to deploy a similar model like HSBB, where it would built the nationwide 5G network and then lease it to other service providers such as Maxis, Celcom Axiata, Digi and U Mobile. TM said consumers would benefit from “lower subscription costs, better coverage and a variety of service offerings”, but the definition of these words were not defined in TM’s response.

It is unclear if TM’s subsidiary, Unifi Mobile would compete with other Telcos on this “National 5G Network” which may result in unfair practice against other Telcos.

The Telco also appears to be praising itself, a lot, in its response to the MCMC public inquiry report [Download PDF].

MCMC said the assignment process of the 700MHz band is expected to commence in the 4th Quarter of 2019 and targeted to be completed by the 2nd Quarter of 2020. The 700MHz band will be available to be used for mobile broadband service at the earliest in the 3rd Quarter of 2020. The 2300Mhz and 2600Mhz assignment process are expected to commence in the 4th Quarter of 2019.

[Article Developing]

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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