Digital Nasional (DNB), Malaysia’s state-owned 5G wholesale network operator, was tipped to begin trials of the technology in parts of three major cities next week, with the service to be delivered at no cost during the pilot phase, Reuters reported.

The organisation said the cost of 5G wholesale would be lower than 4G and the trial period will end on 31 March 2022, the news agency stated.

DNB is reportedly looking to finalise wholesale arrangements and sign contracts with operators in early 2022.

The Straits Times reported Telekom Malaysia signed up to participate in the 5G trials, with Celcom Axiata likely to follow.

Last month, Reuters reported DNB had not worked out long-term contracts with the five major mobile operators in Malaysia, raising concerns because commercial service is scheduled to start by the end of the year.

The government first needs to approve the 5G access cost, following a public consultation.

DNB is a special purpose vehicle set up by the government to manage the a single national 5G network.

Ericsson is the exclusive network supplier.