Malaysian Comms minister teases big 5G news on the horizon

Malaysian Comms minister teases big 5G news on the horizon

Malaysia’s Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil has reportedly teased some upcoming big announcements regarding 5G developments in the next few weeks that will focus on boosting uptake in the industrial sector, among other things.

According to government news agency Bernama, Fahmi said on Sunday he would meet with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Monday – along with Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din, and Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz –  to discuss measures to encourage more adoption of 5G services.

“My hope is towards the end of this month or early next month, we will have several significant and major announcements regarding the 5G network,” Fahmi told reporters.

The latest figures from Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications show that 5G penetration had reached close to 30% as of the end of January 2024.

Fahmi said the talks would focus particularly on the industrial sector “as stipulated in the New Industrial Master Plan, which emphasises the digital core aspect as a driver of industrial growth”, the report said.

That also ties into Malaysia’s efforts to position itself as a key destination for foreign investment for sectors like semiconductor manufacturing or data processing. Fahmi said the government needs to do more to promote 5G as part of that drive.

Fahmi also said the MCMC is reviewing the “5G Rahmah” package for university students to encourage more younger people to adopt 5G.

Meanwhile, Bernama reports, Fahmi said the names of board members for 5G wholesale operator Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) will be announced “soon”.

While Fahmi didn’t mention it specifically, the upcoming 5G announcements might also include an update on the government’s plan to launch a second 5G wholesale operator to compete with DNB later this year.

Fahmi’s comments came after last Friday’s kerfluffle over a report from Channel News Asia that claimed negotiations with mobile operators to take equity stakes DNB have stalled, in part because of concerns over DNB’s alleged lack of internal transparency regarding supply tenders.

DNB has firmly denied that the process to finalise the share subscription agreements (SSAs) with telcos has broken down. It also denied claims that it has not been transparent in its internal operations or tender processes.

Telekom Malaysia and Maxis also issued statements saying that anonymously quoted executives who said they were skeptical on plans for a second 5G wholesale network did not represent their respective company’s official position.


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