Analyst: Dual wholesale network provides broader options for mobile network operators on 5G offerings
KUALA LUMPUR,. The government’s decision to transition from single wholesale network (SWN) to dual wholesale network (DWN) for the 5G deployment beginning next year will provide broader options for mobile network operators (MNOs) to offer their services, said an analyst.
GlobalData principal analyst Alfie Amir highlighted that having more than one 5G network in the country is a positive move by the government, albeit still being far from ideal.
“SWN offers the same coverage, capacity and 5G features and limits telecommunication companies (telcos) from having strong differentiation points in the market.
“With dual network, the wider options for telcos and service providers enable them to differentiate their 5G services against competitors.
“A telco could use both 5G networks and differentiate with coverage, while another telco could use the second 5G network which may offer features that the current SWN – as in the Digital Nasional Bhd’s (DNB) – does not support,” he told Bernama.
On May 3, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the government has decided to implement a DWN once DNB’s 5G rollout has reached 80 per cent of populated areas.
He said the DWN system is expected to be implemented in 2024 under Phase Two of the national 5G rollout.
On that note, Alfie said the move towards the DWN model could attract more players – both the traditional telcos and new players such as mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), system integrators and IT providers.
This, he said, will drive the competition and hence speed up the adoption of the network nationwide as faster 5G development can drive 5G innovations.
“Today, there is a lack of initiatives in co-developing enterprise 5G applications in the country due to collaboration challenges in the wholesale network as well as capabilities offered by the DNB 5G network.
“In contrast, other countries are already a few steps ahead in enterprise 5G with commercial launches of enterprise 5G solutions and various collaborations across multiple industries,” he added.
Similarly, RHB Investment Bank Bhd said in a note that the shift to dual 5G networks is positive for mobile operators as it unshackles the contentious operational expenditure model tied to the SWN approach.
“It would provide longer-term certainty on the industry’s spectrum roadmap, and the joint network collaborations among the MNOs will further expedite rollout and lead to lower cost to serve,” it said.