GSMA Intelligence warned a move by Malaysia’s government to deploy a single 5G network faced significant risks, citing various failures of such strategies in the 4G era and the potential to undo a high level of competition in the nation’s mobile market.
Earlier this month The Star reported Malaysia’s special purpose vehicle Digital Nasional awarded Ericsson a contract to build the 5G network, expecting it to cost MYR11 billion ($2.6 billion) and achieve 80 per cent population coverage by 2024. Operators will receive equal access through wholesale agreements.
In a research note, GSMA Intelligence highlighted the move appears to stymie efforts by operators to advance their own 5G projects: Maxis, for example, agreed a deal with Huawei in late 2019.
The analyst company noted attempts to deploy single wholesale networks in the 4G era largely failed to bear fruit, with projects beset by rollout delays or failing to deliver the quality of service and increase in competition expected.
In contrast, open markets had largely achieved the promise of “delivering far-reaching coverage and unprecedented growth in mobile adoption”.
Malaysia’s current licensing framework already provides a “competitive dynamic”, it stated citing “voluntary network-sharing agreements” between operators seeking to “balance competition with cost efficiencies”.
GSMA Intelligence also highlighted a pending merger of Celcom with Digi “could deliver the scale, synergies and financial position to boost” infrastructure investment.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back