DNB reaches 80% of populated areas

15 January 2024

Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) now covers just over 80% of populated areas, clearing the final criteria for the creation of a second 5G operator.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said that 5G network coverage in Malaysia reached 80.2% in populated areas as of 31 December.

Last year, the government began making plans to transition from the current Single Wholesale Network (SWN) 5G model to a Dual Network (DN) model. As part of that plan, the government had said it would wait until DNB’s 5G network covers 80% of populated areas.

Fahmi said now that the coverage target has been achieved, the Special Task Force on 5G will meet on Friday to work out the specific roadmap for setting up the second 5G operator, the report said.

“The government will not take long to consider and make an announcement of a shift from single to dual 5G network coverage. After that, the dual 5G

network coverage
can be implemented if the terms agreed by the task force are achieved,” said Fahmi.

Fahmi Fadzil said that the second 5G operator will be strictly commercial, with no government ownership. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) holds a 30% stake in DNB, while the rest is split between the country’s five operators: Telekom Malaysia, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi (via Infranation). Once the second 5G operator is officially greenlighted, the MOF has the option to exit DNB.

DNB’s operator stakeholders will be able to decide among themselves who stays in DNB and who moves over to the second 5G operator, although MCMC has the final say.