5G services are now commercially available in Malaysia, but without any commercial partnership with the top 4 mobile network operators (MNOs), namely Maxis, Celcom Axiata, Digi and U Mobile.
Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the Government-owned exclusive provider of the 5G network, announced the commercial availability of its services today, offering the MNOs free access to its 5G network until 31st March 2022. So far, it has signed up Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd without any cost to the 5G network, but only for a limited time free trial. No long term wholesale agreement was announced.
The 5G service is now available to unifi Mobile postpaid customers of Telekom Malaysia on “certified 5G devices”. At the time of writing, Telekom Malaysia has not provided any further updates.
Meanwhile, YTL Communications, the second Telco to announce the limited free trial with DNB, made available two new Yes 5G mobile plans on its website – YES Prepaid FT5G Unlimited (RM30/month) and YES Postpaid FT5G RM49/month, both offering unlimited 5G data for smartphone use until 31st March 2022. Existing customers will need to contact Yes for a ‘5G upgrade’. Yes did not say if it will continue to offer the 5G service after March 2022.
The Yes website also listed a limited number of 5G-compatible smartphones including models from Xiaomi, Realme,Vivo, Nokia and Oppo:
- XIAOMI 11 LITE 5G NE
- XIAOMI 11T 5G NE
- XIAOMI 11T PRO
- REALME GT MASTER EDITION 5G
- VIVO Y76 5G
- VIVO V23e 5G
- VIVO V23 5G
- NOKIA X20 5G
- OPPO A74 5G
- OPPO RENO 6Z 5G
- OPPO RENO 6 5G
Smartphones from Apple (iPhone) and Samsung Galaxy (S21, S20, Note 20, Z Fold, Z Flip) were not listed as compatible 5G smartphones on the Yes website.
In an event marking Malaysia’s 5G availability this morning, DNB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ralph Marshall welcomed TM and YTL Communications onto the DNB network.
“We are pleased to welcome both TM and YTL Communications as our very first customers of the 5G network in Malaysia. TM is the country’s oldest telecommunications provider, having introduced telecommunications services nearly 40 years ago in 1984, while YTL Communications is the youngest and only all-4G network provider in Malaysia.
“Together, they have almost 4.5 million subscribers and an average monthly data demand of 40-to-50GB per subscriber.”
DNB’s Malaysia 5G network is now available at limited areas across Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, and Kuala Lumpur. The DNB coverage map list some of the following areas with good 5G coverage: Bandar Sri Permaisuri, Bangsar, Bandar Tun Razak, Bukit Jalil, Bukit Damansara, Kampung Baru, Setapak, Sentul, Wangsa Maju, Kepong, Setiawangsa, part of Chow Kit, KLCC and Bukit Bintang.
A large number of areas in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya also has 5G coverage including full coverage surrounding the headquarters of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Some 500 5G sites are being deployed by end of 2021.
End users with 5G-compatible devices will be able to enjoy an average speed of 100 Mbps. This means a user at the weakest point of 5G coverage would on average receive 100 Mbps on a 5G-compatible device, DNB claims.
Yesterday it was reported that representatives from the country’s six mobile operators met with ministry officials on Monday to propose solutions to the deadlock and their ideas for deploying 5G, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Four operators – Axiata Group’s Celcom, DiGi.com, Maxis and U Mobile – recommended the government allow two wholesale 5G networks, each to be built and operated by a consortium of carriers, the sources told Reuters.
The carriers would also be open to proposals that would allow them to own equity in DNB, and asked for greater inclusion in the government’s rollout plans, Reuters reported.
Last week, the Dewan Rakyat was told that the decision to appoint Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) as the sole 5G network provider in Malaysia was made by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and not discussed with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM).
It was also revealed that the decision for DNB as the sole provider of 5G network was not final. The Government is now considering whether to allow multiple 5G providers, after concern from telecom firms and industry players that the government plan could hamper competition, Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa said.
“The Cabinet will discuss again and will make a final decision by January whether to stick with a single wholesale network (SWN) system or to have more than one operator to allow for some kind of competition,” he said.
However, the KKMM Minister said as for now, Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) will continue with its plan of delivering 5G services via SWN.