PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has defended the government’s decision to stick to the Single Wholesale Network (SWN) model for the 5G network rollout.
Its chief operating officer, Ali Hanafiah Yunus, said the agency had reviewed the proposal made by mobile network operators (MNOs) for a Duo Wholesale Network (DWN), adding that it lacked crucial details such as the method of establishment, governance and also the timeline.
“The feasibility of the setup and its alignment with existing regulated policies were also not shared with us in the proposal.
“However, even without these details, the DWN would undoubtedly introduce an unfavourable set of challenges. Obviously, there will be a duplication of investments in infrastructure and the two networks would translate to higher wholesale charges,” he said at a forum, titled ‘The future of 5G: Benefits and Challenges in Deployment’, today.
Ali also said spectrum allocation would be a problem, and the use of spectrum for an SWN did not require a band to be split for a specific service provider.
This, he said, ensured that all consumers would be able to get a similar quality of experience, subject to the terms and conditions of service from their respective service providers.
He pointed out that under the SWN model, MNOs would have no restrictions to leverage their work as they had been allowed to roll out and establish their own call network.
“This approach also has the benefit of providing service continuity in the unwanted event of a 5G network outage. The existing 4G network should be able to provide network services and this will avoid total disruption,” he said.
Ali also said the 5G Reference Access Offer (RAO) with MNOs would be settled in a week or two once all parties resolved the issue of commercial costing.
“We are also developing the Mandatory Standard for Quality of Service to cover 5G and we hope to have this ready by the third or fourth quarter of the year,” he said.
Jeanette Whyte, head of the Public Policy of Global System for Mobile Communications Association, said a whole of government approach was needed to speed up digitisation and adoption of new technology in Malaysia.
She said this would harness the capabilities of 5G by removing some of the barriers caused by silo effects from different ministries.
“Other countries who have adopted the whole of government approach have shown positive rollout,” she said.
Whyte also provided a few suggestions to safeguard 5G in Malaysia, including developing a fit for purpose regulatory framework so that all MNOs providing retail services would have a level playing field.
She said policy and regulatory flexibility should be enabled as the digital economy in 5G was still being developed, and that an open mind towards different models would help improve 5G.
“MCMC should also continue to conduct detailed public consultations with all stakeholders to identify concerns and agree with workable solutions,” she said.