Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) has recently published the much-awaited Reference Access Offer (RAO) document on its website [pdf]. This particular document which is dated 31 March 2022, represents one of the major hurdles that DNB is required to go through before it can start sorting out commercial deals with the telcos.
By law, all telcos in Malaysia have to make their RAO viewable to the public. This particular document generally covers the terms and conditions for the access seekers to adhere including the scope of services and access pricing.
According to the document, DNB has set a base monthly rate of RM30,000 per Gbps for the first 1200Gbps of usage capacity. Subsequent capacity utilisation would then cost an additional RM22,000 per Gbps and there is also the in-building network rate of RM30,000 per Gbps.
Using 1500Gbps of capacity as an example, a telco would have to pay RM36 million for the first 1200Gbps and another RM6.6 million for the additional 300Gbps of usage. Of course, there are additional costs that telcos have to face as well including related taxes and Universal Service Provision charges.
Given the publication of the document, some may think that the 5G commercial deals are finally taking place with other telcos aside from TM and YTL Communications who are already on board early on. As it turns out, this is not the case at all according to a statement that was co-signed by Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile.
In the joint statement, the Big Four telcos pointed out that they are still in discussion with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to obtain further clarifications regarding some of the terms listed by DNB’s RAO. They also claimed that the RAO did not adequately address most of the concerns and issues that the telcos have previously discussed with MCMC and DNB.
Ultimately, the telcos feel that the terms in the current RAO would hinder their ability to deliver affordable and quality 5G service while it may also slow down the 5G deployment. Last month, the government has decided to retain the Single Wholesale Network model for 5G and offers 70% of the stake in DNB to telcos in a move that is expected to be finalised by this June.