As part of efforts by Malaysia’s government to promote competition, the country plans to allow the introduction of a second 5G network from next year, Reuters reports, citing four unnamed sources. According to the news outlet, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s government – which came to power six months ago – is planning to introduce a second 5G network from January 2024 to challenge wholesale operator Digital Nasional Berhad’s (DNB’s) infrastructure monopoly. State agency DNB’s 5G rollout has seen a number of delays since its launch in December 2021, related in part to industry concerns over pricing and transparency.
It is understood that the plan for a second 5G network will be contingent on DNB and the nation’s retail mobile service providers ensuring that 5G coverage reaches the government’s target of 80% of the country’s populated areas by the end of this year. According to two of the sources, meanwhile, a proposal on the plan is expected to be submitted to the Cabinet of Malaysia on 19 April.
However, despite the claims that a second 5G network rollout will be permitted, Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Digital stressed that a decision had not yet been made, with Ahmad Firdaus Mohd, press secretary to the communications minister, cited as saying: ‘The matter is still under review.’