Malaysia to share achievements in leading 5G network implementation at MWC Barcelona

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 21: Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil will share Malaysia’s achievements in leading the implementation of the 5G network in his keynote address at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024 scheduled from Feb 26 to 29.

Fahmi, who is also the Unity Government’s spokesman, said he would also discuss the challenges of implementing the national 5G network, which has reached 80.2 percent penetration as of Dec 31 last year.

“In this congress, among the things we will report on is Malaysia’s achievement in leading the implementation of the 5G network.

“…Malaysia could do it (implementing the 5G network), and we are the first proof in the world where the 5G network can be implemented using the wholesale network concept. This is one of the things we will highlight,” he said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting here today.

The MWC 2024 is the largest annual gathering of the telecommunications industry organised by the international body, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), with Barcelona selected as the host city for the congress that will gather more than 100,000 telecommunications industry players.

On Sept 8, Fahmi said in his X (formerly Twitter) post that he had received a special invitation from GSMA to deliver a keynote address at MWC 2024. The special invitation was received by Fahmi during bilateral meetings between the Ministry of Communications and GSMA in the federal capital, which was a follow-up session after the first meeting at the GSMA headquarters in London on June 14, 2023.

Sharing on Malaysia’s participation in MWC 2024, Fahmi said, besides establishing the Malaysian Pavilion with the participation of national telecommunications providers, he would also hold several discussions with international telecommunications players and GSMA to explore new technologies in the sector.

“In addition to 5G networks, there is 5.5G networks and several new technologies. Certainly, for the Ministry of Communications and MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), we are very interested in gaining a deeper understanding of technologies that can solve connectivity problems in areas without coverage throughout the country.

“It includes areas in the interior and areas that may be tourist areas but have no inhabitants and important routes such as trunk roads or main routes between populated areas. So these are some of the things we will strive for,” he said.

In another development, Fahmi said the Cabinet has yet to decide on the mobile network operators (MNOs) that will remain with Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) or an entity to be formed when the government switches to the dual-network model for 5G implementation.

He said, at the moment, discussions on this matter, which focus on the establishment of another network besides DNB, are still ongoing and have not reached a conclusion.

“The discussion is still ongoing in determining the MNOs that will remain with DNB and another network, which is half with DNB and half with another entity.

“At the same time, 5G network coverage remains at a rate of 80.2 percent as reported last December,” he said.

On Jan 10, Fahmi was reported as saying that the 5G network service had reached 80.2 percent coverage in populated areas as of Dec 31, surpassing the 80 percent target set, and the government expected to announce the transition from a single wholesale network to a dual-network for 5G implementation.

On May 31, 2023, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reported as saying that the government agreed for the implementation of the national 5G network to switch from a single wholesale network to a dual-network on several justifications, including enhancing competition and ending the monopolistic elements associated with DNB.