DNB offering MNOs free 5G services until March

PUTRAJAYA: Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) is offering wholesale 5G services to all mobile network operators (MNOs) in the country for a commercial trial from Dec 15 to March 31 next year at no cost, said its chief commercial officer Ahmad Taufek Omar.

He said the offer was applicable for all 5G live sites that will be ready throughout Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and parts of Kuala Lumpur.

“We call it commercial trial. When we start something new, we are talking about serving five to six big brothers, they need to experience it first,“ he told a media preview on 5G experience in Putrajaya on Sunday.

On how many MNOs have agreed to sign up for the offer, he said so far only one has signed up and the rest were still in discussion.

“We are aggressively following up with others, there are five more MNOs, so that we can bring them on board,“ he said, adding that the current discussions are pointing to positive development.

DNB, wholly owned by the Minister of Finance (Inc), has been mandated by the government to be the single neutral party to undertake the deployment of 5G infrastructure and network nationwide.

Media reports on Sunday said that Telekom Malaysia Bhd had confirmed it would be conducting 5G trials with DNB to optimise the services.

Asked why the MNOs have yet to sign up with DNB for the trials, Ahmad Taufek said the 5G network is still a new thing in Malaysia and most of them have a lot of questions.

“The industry sat down with us every week to make sure we address all the necessary issues. They need to make sure all their concerns or existing questions are answered because there has never been another situation of one company hosting five big brothers together,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Taufek said DNB, as a provider of wholesale 5G services, would not be competing with the industry in providing 5G retail services to end-users, but would instead be complementing efforts by the MNOs with a view to accelerate the adoption of 5G in the country.

He said the availability of 5G services opened up new and exciting innovation with vastly improved connectivity speeds able to support the use of streaming and downloading of 8K quality video content, cloud-based gaming and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content.

End-users with 5G-compatible devices will be able to enjoy speeds of 100Mbps and above, which means a user at the weakest point of 5G coverage would experience 100Mbps on a 5G-compatible device, he said.

Last Friday, DNB said it expected to roll out 10% 5G coverage in Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur by the end of this month, with a cumulative site count of 500 sites.

This will increase to 4,018 sites or 40% coverage in populated areas of Penang, Johor, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Perak in 2022.

DNB also aims to reach 80% of the populated areas of the country by 2024 with 7,509 sites. – Bernama