Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Digital Nasional (DNB) shares more details on Malaysia 5G Network rollout

With less than 3 months to go before 5G is expected to be available in Malaysia, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the exclusive 5G operator in the country is now sharing more details on its network rollout.


In an article published by TheStar, DNB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ralph Marshall shared more information regarding its Malaysia 5G network rollout. The article appears to have addressed some of the questions raised in a posting published by MalaysianWireless last Thursday.

Below are some of the Malaysia 5G rollout details shared by Ralph Marshall:

  • DNB will be publishing its Reference Access Offer (RAO) on its website, which will highlight key information about its offering, particularly on pricing which will be disclosed publicly. “The access seekers will see all the terms including, key performance indicators, pricing, how we manage and others…before they sign on to seek access from us.”
  • DNB is not profit motivated and instead, will focus on cost recovery.
  • DNB can offer 5G access to MNOs at one-third of the cost it would take the MNOs to deploy 5G services themselves. And with the Multi-Operator Core Network deployment approach employed, that will lead to greater efficiency in the 5G network among the MNOs.
  • To set up 500 5G sites in Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur for the launch in December 2021
  • 5G coverage in parts of Sabah and Sarawak beginning 2022
  • When more than 90% of the country has 5G coverage, the DNB’s 5G network is projected to have 10,167 sites
  • Pledged to deliver 100Mbps speed at cell edge, which means a user at the weakest point of the coverage would enjoy at least 100Mbps as compared to 18Mbps currently. DNB claims it can face a penalty if it fails to deliver the 100Mbps speed.
  • Malaysia 5G rollout will save the industry money in capital expenditure as it would require RM30bil to RM35bil
  • Total cost is expected to be just about RM16.5bil, although it may swell to RM20bil between 2021 and 2030. Breakdown- Network cost is forecast to be RM12.5bil, of which RM4bil is for network equipment and RM12.5bil is for network infrastructure. Some RM4bil is for corporate costs, which Marshall explains include startup costs, consultant fees as well as RM2.5bil for staff compensation for over 600 workers.
  • Average mobile data usage can grow to 60GB a month in 10 years.
  • Marshall insists DNB is here to partner with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), and not to compete against them.
  • Telcos offering 5G services in Malaysia “.. would have control over the product, services and the customers”

In a separate article, TheStar also revealed some interesting details on Malaysia 5G:

  • UBS Research says that the 5G (expected) wholesale price of 50 sen per GB is lower than the existing network cost of RM1.10 per GB.
  • Malaysia is going into uncharted waters as the 5G network will be deployed and owned by DNB alone.
  • Many wonder whether a government-led, single-entity rollout of the 5G network will put the private telcos at a disadvantage.
  • Fitch Solutions warned that the DNB model would likely be costlier to implement, as it would be centrally-coordinated.“Elevated costs associated with a single-entity rollout would likely be passed on to operators in the form of higher wholesale costs, and in turn, operators would find it difficult to extract higher margins from selling these services to their customers.
  • No party is required to spend huge capital expenditure (capex) to build the 5G infrastructures. Rather, they would compete on differentiated and innovative 5G services provided to end-users. This is expected to give rise to more competition, which should be beneficial for the end-users.

[PDF1 & PDF 2] – Screenshots

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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