Last week, amid the turbulence of the future of 5G rollout, the cabinet has decided to proceed the network and infrastructure development under the initial outlined laid by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) through the Single Wholesale Network (SWN) implementation. The unresolved circumstances have long taken place since the administration of the previous Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin.
The joint-statement on March 16th released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia of Malaysia (MCMM) highlighted key points towards the future of 5G development in Malaysia.
As the long debate took months, Keluarga Malaysia government reached an agreement where in three years, the government’s equity in DNB will be gradually offered to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) up to 70%. Controversies arouse when earlier, MNOs made conflicted agreement upon their involvement in the said rollout and peaked with their resolution to propose another SWN for the development.
However, no clarity was subjected or disclosed to the public from the suggestion of Dual Wholesale Network (DWN) intended previously.
The final decision to allow DNB reinstate its clear position has taken many accounts and opinions including parliamentary members from both of government and of opposition sides, telecommunication companies themselves, and the civil society into consideration,
Prior to the government initiative to narrow down the digital gap ergo the economic gap between geographical segments, a convincing economic model of ‘supply orientation’ and ‘cost recovery’ are the formidable answers. The accessibility and coverage issue were a national dilemma to increase accessibility in the rural areas.
Previously, the 9th Prime Minister Ismail Sabri has announced (National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan – NFCP) 2019 – 2023 through Program Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) and more than RM 700 million has been allocated for telecommunication companies to upgrade their connectivity performance. However since, there was an obvious dissatisfaction from those MNOs, exhibited by their intervention trials through politicians and ministers in DNB niche area.
Ability of the private institutions to demonstrate less profitable model is unseemly especially in addressing their stakeholders’ concern. Thus, allowing a government wholly acquired company to propagate the move is less damaging to competitive business in MNOs. Further, the expertise needs in DNB early projection is already in the structure to govern and mitigate any improper direction swung by the green player.
Regardless, it is an ill-fated move for a nation to bear another failure, of a larger scale. The previous generation technology of 4G has dramatically grow dim, needless to say in less populated area, nor in dense cities and urban localities. Not only the demanded market has been frustrated, the supply in connectivity does not standing equally with with regional countries.
Again, the government through the Minister of Finance has expressed their concern on the ‘cost recovery’ model as the infrastructure and network expenses are projected to increase MNOs capital expenditure (CAPEX) billing hence in turn, increasing the operational cost where in the end will be reflected to consumer higher prices. In a way that work differently from the mentioned proposal, DNB pledged a wholesale price of RM 0.20 to each gigabyte produced, much lower than the 4G counterpart cost.
The government through coalitions, and firm stance has proven a wise conclusive remark where benefits have been juxtaposed to the public institutions, the private industry players, and the people above all. The digital economy market will provide extraordinarily new chances to the country to fasten the connectivity nationwide in the post pandemic era, thus easing up the economic recovery process towards a higher income nation status.
The standing final result has also demonstrated that a sharing model between public and private entities in Malaysia has proven how tolerable business cooperation could be achieved in Malaysia. Pretty much, this will definitely enhance the trust and confidence from external investors.
In less than seven months, Ismail Sabri has proven his worth to delegate and synchronize ministries and industries in his boat, where some claimed he is in no position to bring about changes, he resolved chaos in a remarkable locus. Way ahead for Keluarga Malaysia to move forward in style.