Malaysia’s Single Wholesale Network to go ahead despite lack of deals

Malaysia’s Single Wholesale Network to go ahead despite lack of deals

There have been a few interesting 5G developments in Malaysia lately relating to the planned Single Wholesale Network (SWN) that is to bring 5G to the country’s end users.

Reuters reports that state agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), which is tasked with building and managing the entire 5G telecommunications network, has said it will offer wholesale 5G services to mobile carriers at no cost during an initial rollout set to begin next week.

The very first 5G services are supposed to be commercially available from 15 December in three central areas, including parts of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

As a further incentive to get involved, operators that sign up to DNB’s wholesale plan before 31 March next year will receive further free access to all additional 5G capacity during the initial period of operation.

However, it seems that, despite the business model and the limited time to launch, DNB has yet to sign long-term deals with any mobile operator. In fact operators have been reportedly raising concerns over transparency and pricing issues.

While DNB insists that the 5G pricing plan will be cheaper for operators than the cost they have incurred for 4G, not all are convinced the scheme is better than going it alone.

A public document that explains the 5G SWN model, including pricing and service commitments, has apparently had extensive feedback from the industry and is due to be approved by the country’s communications regulator soon.

The proposed rollout of the SWN aims to keep consumer prices down. However, industry grouping the GSMA claimed in a September report that the track record of SWNs in other markets around the world uncovered evidence of failed deployments, slow rollout, poor service quality and profitability challenges.

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