KUALA LUMPUR: All telecommunications companies (telcos) in the country are expected to sign a share subscription agreement on equity stakes in Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) by the middle of this month, says communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil.
Fahmi said the signing must take place first before further discussions about the second 5G network can take place.
“The first step is the signing which, I am informed by the task force that if all things go well, (will take place) before the middle of this month, hopefully,” he told reporters after the launching of Petronas’s private 5G network today.
Fahmi, who was asked if the government has started receiving requests for proposals for the second 5G network, said discussions are ongoing.
“I’m not in a position to divulge more information on this because the conversation is very dynamic and is being facilitated by the 5G task force, co-chaired by the communications and digital ministry secretary-general (Fauzi Isa) as well as treasury secretary-general (Johan Mahmood Merican),” he said.
In May, the government agreed to a second 5G service provider, with the shift to a dual network to commence in Phase 2 of the roll-out of the 5G network.
However, the transition will only happen once DNB has achieved 80% coverage to populated areas.
As of last month, 5G network coverage in populated areas stood at 70.2%, with subscriptions totalling 2.49 million, translating to a 7.4% penetration rate.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the switch to having a dual 5G network would allow for more effective participation by China’s Huawei, providing the country with a balance of both western and eastern technology.
Separately, Fahmi said it is not “impossible” that DNB may be allowed to have 100MHz of the 3.5GHz spectrum, with Entity B acquiring the remaining portion if the spectrum is transferred to the new entity when the dual network comes into force next year.
“In order to make full use of 5G, the International Telecommunications Union, or ITU, stipulates that you need a minimum of 100MHz of the 3.5GHz bandwidth, 3.5GHz spectrum for efficient use of 5G. That is what is recommended,” he said.
He also affirmed that such a suggestion remains consistent with the Ericsson agreement.