KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's 5G network services will cost each telecommunication company (telco) about RM350 million to RM400 million per year, lower than investments for their 4G services, the Dewan Rakyat heard today.
Finance Minister Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said this would allow them to offer more competitive prices to users, while maintaining their revenue growth.
He said the national initiative would involve an estimated overall investment of about RM3.5 billion to RM4 billion for each telco within 10 years.
"The estimated costs are much lower than investments of about RM1 billion spent annually by each telco for the 4G services.
"In addition, telcos will be able to offer the 5G services earlier than if they launch it on their own," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Kanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-PBB-Sibuti) during the Ministerial Question Time (MQT).
Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the initiative, was still in the midst of finalising the pricing and awaiting approval from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), he said.
He said MCMC, as the regulatory body, would ensure fair pricing based on recovery cost and not income-generating.
"I have been informed that the process to finalising 5G pricing is almost completed and will be way cheaper compared with the cost of each gigabyte (GB) for 4G imposed by telcos.
"I was also made to understand that DNB will charge less than 20 sen per GB for 5G to telcos. As a comparison, this is far cheaper compared with incremental cost per GB for 4G service by telcos at 45 to 55 sen per GB," he said, adding that DNB would implement single wholesale network (SWN) for the initiative.
Earlier, Tengku Zafrul said the government hoped that the 5G rollout could be implemented smoothly and benefit all as the network service could help improve the wellbeing of the people and enhance the country's competitiveness.
It would also encourage both domestic and foreign investments in the country, he said.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has proven that there is a need for a fair and equitable access to a high-speed network, especially in the countryside and rural areas.
"This includes affordable wide coverage for all, in line with the Malaysian Family spirit," he said, citing the case of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student Veveonah Mosibin who was struggling to access the Internet for her studies highlighted in June last year.