KUALA LUMPUR (June 7): Maxis Bhd will sign the 5G access agreement with Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), according to the telecommunication company’s (telco) chief executive officer (CEO) Goh Seow Eng.
Goh, who was speaking at a panel discussion at Invest Malaysia 2023 Series 2: Digital Malaysia: Tomorrow’s Infrastructure, Today on Wednesday (June 7), also asserted that coverage of populated areas (CoPA) is not a good indicator of coverage.
To illustrate his point, Goh asked the crowd to check their phones and raise their hands if they had access to 5G. In response, no hands were raised, to which he jested: “This is pretty amazing, I don’t see a single hand up, does that mean Maxis has 100% market share in here?”
“Actually, I wanted to point out that population coverage (coverage of populated areas (CoPA)) is actually not a good indication of coverage as there is also inbuilding coverage, which is one of the things we lack — as right here in the middle of KL (at Mandarin Oriental KLCC) we don’t have [access to] 5G,” Goh said.
“It is not actually a matter of Maxis not signing an access agreement, we will sign [the] access agreement, but it is also a matter of coverage,” he added. Later when the press attempted to approach Goh after the panel discussion concluded for clarification on Maxis inking the 5G access agreement, he declined to comment.
Prior to the panel discussion, during the event’s keynote address, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said Malaysia’s 5G rollout does not solely depend on the efforts of DNB but also on mobile network operators (MNOs).
Fahmi took out his phone and quipped that it only has 4G access, remarking his phone uses Maxis — the only telco yet to ink the 5G access agreement with DNB.
Subsequently, Fahmi looked at Goh who was seated in the crowd and quizzed “[You will] sign [5G the access agreement] soon, yes?”
During the panel discussion entitled “Rethinking the 5G Model — Building Tomorrow’s Infrastructure, Today”, Goh was joined by Fahmi, DNB board member and Ministry of Finance Treasury secretary-general Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican, Telekom Malaysia Bhd group CEO Datuk Imri Mokhtar and CelcomDigi Bhd deputy CEO Albern Murty.
Fahmi, in his keynote address, also announced that Malaysia’s 5G network has achieved 62.1% CoPA as at end-May, compared to 59.5% at end-April.
“This indicates that the rollout is continuing expeditiously, the government aims to ensure that by the end of this year, as fast as possible, we are able to reach 80% CoPA and there has been a commitment by all MNOs to see this through,” he said.