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DNB is Unable to meet its own 5G Coverage Target for 2022 [Commentary]

Following multiple missed datelines by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) to onboard major mobile network operators (MNOs) to the sole 5G network in the country, the Government-controlled company is now facing rollout delays with its 5G network.

A screenshot from DNB’s website which states that the 5G coverage target for 2022 is 40%.

The latest ‘Jendela’ report from Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) revealed that the 5G coverage target for 2022 has been reduced to 37.9% from the 40% that was set previously.

The 5G rollout delay are being blamed on the “process of council permit approval, pending new guidelines from local councils and high cost of fibre leasing at Sacofa’s existing sites.”

MCMC and DNB did not say if they consulted the local councils and Sacofa (Sarawak) before setting an ambitious target for the nationwide 5G coverage last year.


Out of the 1,290 5G sites targeted for completion in Q3 2022 (July-September), only 73.2% or 944 were completed within schedule.

It is not known if MCMC performed its sworn duties to the public by issuing penalties/compounds to DNB for the failures.

The regulator said that Malaysia’s 5G coverage has now reached 33.2% nationwide. However these coverage figures are theoretically measured, based on human populated areas and does not reflect real life user experience.

A total of 3,518 5G sites are targeted for rollout in 2022 but only 1,915 (54.4%) sites have been completed so far, nine months into 2022. MCMC did not say if all the remaining 1,603 5G sites will be completed with less than 3-months remaining in 2022.

According to data from MCMC, as of September 2022, about 1,070 5G sites are operational and live to consumers. Some remaining 845 5G sites have been completed but yet to be fully operational to consumers.

MCMC is proud to announce that Four (4) 5G sites were deployed and now live to consumers in Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan.

As a transparent and informative regulator, MCMC did not reveal the total number of 5G sites in Malaysia.

Based on past media reports, 500 5G sites have already been completed and operational in December 2021. This brings the total number of 5G sites in Malaysia to approximately 2,415 as of September 2022, representing a 33.2% human population coverage.

However, caretaker Communications Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa gave conflicting information earlier this month as he said DNB has set up 2,119 5G sites as of August 2022 and this also represented a 33.2% coverage. He added that the coverage target for 2022 is 36% but MCMC is now saying that it will be 37.9%.

5G in Malaysia is available to consumers for about 10 months now but the number of active 5G subscribers in the country was not revealed in the national “Jendela” report.

According to media reports, there are at least 250,000 5G subscriptions in the country.

“At this point in time, the amount of 5G subscriptions is estimated to exceed 250,000,” the caretaker Communications Minister said in a written parliamentary response, reported TheVibes early this month.

Consumer 5G service in Malaysia is currently only available from YTL Communication but other MNOs such as unifi Mobile (uni5G) are expected to rollout out the new service to consumers very soon.

5G is now available at limited areas in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Penang, Johor and Perak.

[PDF]– MCMC report

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