Malaysia retains use of Single Wholesale Network for 5G deployment

The Malaysian government has decided to stick with its use of the Single Wholesale Network (SWN) model for the roll out of 5G in Malaysia.

The landmark decision was confirmed and announced by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz during a joint press conference with Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa.

Details of the announcement were also announced on Twitter by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

What this means is that the Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) will remain as the national 5G infrastructure company and it will have full rights when it comes to matters involving Malaysia’s 5G spectrum.

Despite the decision to retain the SWN model, the Malaysian government will change the ownership of DNB with the company no longer fully owned by the Malaysian government.

Instead, the government, via the Ministry of Finance, will only retain 30 percent of the company while the rest will be offered to telecommunication companies.

The new ownership will be finalized by June 2022.

The move to change the ownership of the company is likely to satisfy telecommunication companies which are not for the SWN model to deploy 5G in Malaysia.

This can be seen as major telecommunication companies, such as Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile, banding together to offer support for another model, the Dual Wholesale Network model.

I don’t want to speculate on the impact of the decision to open up DNB’s ownership to telecommunication companies, but it must be made clear that the 5G roll out should also cater for rural and semi-urban areas as well.