Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil has revealed that Malaysia’s 5G coverage has reached almost 60% of populated areas in the country, standing at 59.5% as of the end of April. This means that the government’s goal of reaching an 80% coverage in populated areas by 2024 is closer to being attained.
The latest coverage rate is a mild leap after four months, as the nationwide coverage previously stood at almost 50% at the end of last year. At that point, it involved 3,900 sites with a reach of 15 million users; it had already achieved more than 90% coverage in populated areas throughout Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Selangor.
Despite the increasing coverage, the minister noted that he was not satisfied with the access rate in Sarawak, which stood at only 34%. Fahmi said he is asking the Sarawak state government to give the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) a list of locations to be given 5G access and to cooperate with the agency.
Furthermore, he added that the MCMC will be calling all telco companies to address the issue of non-functioning telecommunication towers in Sarawak due to the lack of satellite dishes. One of the solutions being proposed is to install antennas on water towers to provide more network access, which would complement over 600 telecommunication towers built by the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC).
Earlier this month, it was announced that the country will be switching from DNB’s current single wholesale network model for 5G to a dual network model after coverage has reached over 80% in populated areas. Once the goal has been achieved, the government will dispose of its entire stake in DNB and hand the reins over to two new entities, one that will operate the existing 5G network and another that will handle the country’s second 5G network.
With the dual network model being greenlit, at least two major telcos, TM and CelcomDigi, have announced the termination of their equity deals with DNB. The Comms Ministry is already in the midst of forming a special task force to implement the second network, which will consist of representatives from the ministry itself, the Finance Ministry, DNB, and local network carriers.
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