Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has revealed in parliament today that Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) plans to charge telcos less than 20 cents per gigabyte for access to the 5G network. He said this is cheaper than the current cost under 4G networks, which is around 45 to 55 cents per gigabyte.
The minister said that he expects telcos to welcome this pricing and he also expects consumers to pay less for 5G than 4G due to these savings. However, he also clarified that the exact pricing that will be charged to telcos is still being refined and is waiting for approval from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to ensure that the price is fair and not aimed at making a profit.
Zafrul added that each telco is estimated to pay between RM3.5 billion to RM4 billion to DNB over a period of ten years, or RM350 million to RM450 million a year. He claimed that this is much cheaper than the RM1 billion per year cost if network operators were to build their own 5G network.
DNB is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) erected by the government to build out Malaysia’s 5G network infrastructure. Instead of auctioning off the 5G spectrum to telecommunication companies individually, 5G access will be sold using a wholesale model, which is claimed to keep costs low and helps avoid high prices for the consumers.
DNB announced earlier this month that it has successfully integrated its 5G network with the country’s top five telcos. Additionally, DNB’s CCO Ahmad Taufek Omar said that the SPV will secure long-term commercial agreements with telcos in early 2022.