Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that Malaysians will be able to utilise 5G services by the end of this year. The rollout will be part of the MyDIGITAL initiative which also covers the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.
The commercial availability of 5G in Malaysia has been subjected to multiple changes for the past one year. This is not exactly surprising though as there was a change of government not long after the previous administration kicked off the implementation of the next-generation mobile technology for our country.
Originally, 5G was supposed to be available in Malaysia by Q3 2020. However, the current Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Saifuddin Abdullah then made a remark during a Parliament session in November 2020 that the current government expects the rollout will only take place by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Meanwhile, PM Muhyiddin stated that RM 15 billion will be invested for the rollout of 5G in Malaysia for the next 10 years. A government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be created to oversee the effort which is expected to create around 105,000 job opportunities.
Here is the interesting part: PM Muhyiddin stated that the 5G spectrum will be given to this SPV in order for it to implement and subsequently manage the national 5G infrastructure. In some ways, this sort of mirrors the implementation of the High Speed Broadband (HSBB) backbone although it involved TM rather than an all-new specialised entity.
PM Muhyiddin didn’t provide many details regarding this SPV in his speech but he did promise that all licensed telcos in Malaysia will have equal access to the 5G infrastructure. This method apparently will enable telcos to have a higher return on investment and also allows consumers to enjoy 5G at an affordable rate.
All in all, the 5G rollout announcement made by PM Muhyiddin today are rather general in nature. There are still plenty of questions that the government has to answer such as the exact timeline and detailed information regarding the 5G SPV that will be handling the national 5G infrastructure. We do hope that the answer will be revealed sooner rather than later.