PETALING JAYA: A second 5G network will have difficulty penetrating the market once Digital Nasional Bhd achieves 80% of populated areas, says internet veteran Mohamed Awang Lah.
It would be very challenging for the second network provider to enter the market only at that stage “unless DNB is very bad”, said Mohamed, or “Mal” as he was known while head of Jaring, Malaysia’s first internet provider.
“It would be better if they were allowed to start earlier than January 2024. Perhaps they should start now,” he told FMT.
When asked whether other mobile phone companies would be keen to sign up with the new network next year, he said: “Only time will tell. Every telco would have its own strategy.”
Earlier this week, the federal government agreed to a dual-network rollout of 5G services with the shift to begin once DNB achieves 80% coverage to populated areas, some time in early 2024.
An economist, Geoffrey Williams of the Malaysia University of Science and Technology, said having a second 5G service provider should lead to increased competition, which should reduce prices and increase the speed of new innovations being brought into the marketplace.
“It will also provide a sense of network service stability because if one network goes down, another option will be immediately available,” he said.
Asked about warnings from western governments about involving Huawei of China in the 5G rollout, Williams said the US and European Union were just sabre-rattling.
They seemed to be trying to get Malaysia to favour US and EU companies in any future bid.
Ambassadors from the US and EU are reported to have written to the government last month after the Cabinet decided to review the RM11 billion 5G tender awarded to Ericsson to build the state-owned network.