DAP MP asks MCMC if the 5G deployment model proposed by telecom operators would allow private companies to profit from cities and bear government costs in kampungs | Malaysia

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming today wrote an open letter containing six questions to MCMC Chairman Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek. — Photo by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, February 19 ― Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming today asked the regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to take a position and provide details on the possible effects of a proposed 5G network deployment model by four telecommunications companies.

Ong, who is also DAP’s Deputy Director of Political Education, today wrote an open letter containing six questions to MCMC Chairman Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek.

Ong referred yesterday to a statement by four telecommunications operators Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile, in which the four mobile network operators (MNOs) said they had submitted a proposal for the development and operation of two networks of wholesale or dual wholesale networks (DWN). by two consortia involving the government, Digital Nasional Berhad and MNOs that are ready to invest.

With the four MNOs confirming that they had proposed a DWN model for the deployment of 5G to the Malaysian government, Ong said that Malaysians have a right to know the details and understand the implications, and added that MCMC, as independent regulator of the telecommunications sector, should have its own publicly stated position on such a proposal.

The first question raised by Ong was whether the MCMC supported moving from a Single Wholesale Network (SWN) model to a DWN model.

He noted that the MCMC said in March last year that rolling out 5G under DNB would eliminate the need for telecom operators to invest in their own 5G networks so they can focus on improving and the expansion of 4G services and fiber optic networks which would be crucial for the success of the deployment of 5G.

The second question raised by Ong was whether the details of the MNOs’ proposed DWN model would be released for the public to comment on.

He noted that the DNB had previously publicly explained its structure and operating model and had given open briefings, including to MPs.

“From a transparency perspective, isn’t it important that the telecommunications industry conforms to the same standards as DNB, which are all regulated by MCMC?” He asked.

The remaining four questions posed by Ong related to whether the Malaysian government should bear the costs of 5G rollout in less profitable rural areas and whether such a change in the 5G rollout model would slow down its rollout in Malaysia. .

“One of the most important questions regarding the DWN model is whether MNOs will be allowed to focus on the most profitable urban areas and follow a ‘demand driven’ 5G deployment model.

“Does MCMC agree to a DWN model in which the ORM-led consortium will be allowed to largely focus on the most profitable urban areas following a demand-driven 5G deployment model” and let DNB focus on semi-urban and less profitable areas? rural areas according to a “supply-driven” model? (In other words, let the private sector reap the benefits of 5G deployment and let the government pay the costs of 5G deployment in unprofitable, largely rural areas),” he asked. in his third question to the MCMC.

If such a model of MNOs allowed to focus on urban areas is indeed what MNOs are proposing, Ong asked how this would then affect DNB’s financial viability and whether Malaysia would eventually see its 5G solely controlled by private companies.

“If, for example, MNOs are allowed to focus only on the most profitable urban areas, does this mean that DNB will receive no or very little revenue from MNOs for access to DNB’s 5G network in rural areas?

“If so, what is the likelihood that DNB will have to ‘shut up shop’ leaving only the MNO-led consortium remaining in the 5G deployment space, thus turning the DWN into a SWN model but which is fully owned and controlled by the private sector? he asked as part of his fourth question.

As for his fifth question, Ong asked how much the Malaysian government and DNB would have to spend if Malaysia switched from an SWN model to a DWN model for 5G rollout.

“How much should the GoM spend to cover 5G deployment costs for DNB that cannot be recovered from MNO charges (due to lower demand in rural areas?) Would DNB be in able to borrow money from the open market and institutional investors in a DWN business model environment?

“How much additional interest service fees would DNB have to pay in a DWN business model environment compared to SWN? What are the possible legal liabilities that DNB would have to face from its suppliers, sub-contractors and vendors , including Ericson?” He asked.

If the Cabinet decides that Malaysia should switch from an SWN model to a DWN model similar to the MNOs’ proposal, Ong asked how this change in 5G deployment model would delay the 5G rollout in Malaysia.

“Keep in mind that Malaysia is already behind our neighbors in terms of 5G deployment and this has caused Malaysia to lose our competitive edge in terms of mobile download speeds according to a recent industry report “, did he declare.

“Ultimately, I strongly believe that MCMC must play its role as an independent regulator to protect the long-term interests of the Malaysian public.

“MCMC needs to make public the details of the DWN model proposed by MNOs and it needs to take a clear position on the implications of such a proposal for the 5G rollout plan from as holistic a perspective as possible,” he said. he concluded.

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