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Single wholesale network
for 5G roll-out will help lower cost — expert

26 September 2021

Single wholesale network for 5G roll-out will help lower cost — expert

This article appeared in The Edge Weekly on 26 September 2021

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 25): The decision to set up a single wholesale network (SWN) for the 5G roll-out plan will help lower the network cost as the spectrum will be used more efficiently, said a telecommunication expert.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Adjunct Professor Tharek Abdul Rahman said by having a single provider for the application of SWN by Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), there would be no duplication of resources and the spectrum can be used fairly by all network operators.

"The SWN provider will focus on providing infrastructure for the 5G spectrum such as building telecommunication towers, while other network operators can ride on the infrastructure and put more efforts in enhancing and improving their retail services," he told Bernama on Saturday. "Hence the roll-out of the 5G network will be more feasible, faster compared to what happened during the 4G implementation, when every operator did things seperately, and consumers can also benefit more in terms of network services."

DNB is a Ministry of Finance-owned special-purpose vehicle (SPV) established early this year, responsible for the implementation of the SWN for 5G in Malaysia.

The SPV will be the sole recipient of the 5G spectrum, composed of 700 megahertz (MHz), 3.5 gigahertz (GHz), and 26/28 GHz, along with a wholesale licence.

In July 2021, it awarded the 5G infrastructure contract to Ericsson Malaysia after conducting a 5G network tender exercise.

According to Tharek, a single provider will have enough resources to provide the spectrum needed by the network operators in order to have a fast 5G roll-out.

"In my point of view, with the current situation, it is much better to have a SWN provider that will oversee the usage of 5G spectrum compared to having many players since the available spectrum is limited, especially at 3.5 GHz. This will be a very good example to other countries if we manage to get it done successfully.

"Of course with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as a regulator, it can play an important role in regulating the quality of service and user experience," said Tharek, who is also a commission member of MCMC.

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