Digital Nasional (DNB) is in the hot seat for its 5G coverage claim that has received public scepticism online as well as from communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil. Fahmi took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to call out DNB on its claims after a disgruntled netizen expressed his frustration on a tweet regarding the slow data connection he was facing.
Notable executives, such as the former managing editor of news and current affairs Datuk Seri Mohd Ashraf Abdullah of Media Prima Bhd's Television Networks group also tweeted, “" I live in Denai Alam, Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor. I hardly get three bars on my 4G network. Now DNB says it has achieved 50 per cent 5G coverage. Can DNB release the list of areas which it claims have 5G coverage so we can check it out?" and tagged Fahmi Fadzil. These were a few among a slew of other tweets that showed the disappointed netizens were facing against DNB.
Since the emergence of the frustrations by netizens, Fahmi responded, asking for an explanation regarding how DNB concluded with its claim of achieving nearly 50% coverage. Fahmi also said in his tweet that DNB should publish its claims without verification by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Digital Nasional (DNB) announced in 2022, that it will be expanding the 5G network throughout the country.
In October 2022, according to the Malaysian government’s budget set aside for 2023, under the second phase of the National Digital Network (JENDELA) project, the government will provide full Internet coverage in populated areas and provide fibre optic coverage to nine million premises nationwide by 2025. For the year 2023, Digital Nasional (DNB) was set to expand the 5G network throughout the country to cover 70% of highly populated areas. DNB planned to implement infrastructure expenditure worth RM1.3 billion in 2023.
The whole incident came about after, Digital Nasional announced in a press release that Malaysia’s 5G network has achieved almost 50% coverage of populated areas (COPA) with some 3,900 sites as at end-2022 – comfortably exceeding the target of 40%. It added that DNB is now focused on delivering the committed target of 80% COPA by end 2024, if not earlier. “The network currently reaches some 15 million people today and when fully deployed, it will reach more than 30 million people and businesses,” DNB claimed.
DNB also claimed to have achieved more than 90% COPA throughout Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and Selangor as well as some 50% across Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan. “All other states are in various stages of deployment and, together with the aforementioned states, are expected to achieve full network deployment in 2024, if not earlier,” it said.
5G initially went live in Malaysia on 15 December 2021 in three main city areas, including the capital Kuala Lumpur, alongside Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, provided by two of the country’s oldest mobile operators Telekom Malaysia and YTL Communications.
Earlier this week, Fahmi asked two agencies to look into the data leak that compromised the personal data of around 13 million account holders. The leaks involve information from Maybank, the satellite broadcaster Astro, and SPR, and CNA reported that the minister responded saying that he will direct the issue to CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Personal Data Protection Department to investigate “whether the data leak involving the various parties had really happened, and to take action according to the law”.
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