MCMC optimistic over 5G commercial rollout by 2Q next year

GEORGE TOWN: The country’s communications regulators said it was on track to roll out the fifth-generation (5G) cellular network by the second quarter of next .

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief digital officer Gerard Lim said local telco companies can bid for the right to use the 5G spectrum by the first or second quarter of next year.

He said Malaysia is now waiting for the World Radiocommunication Conference to conclude on Nov 22 to have the country’s 5G frequency assignment set in place.

“The conference will align the globally available frequencies, with one of them being 5G.

“We expect to issue the 5G spectrum by the first or second quarter of next year, with commercial availability by the second half of 2020.

“Qualified telco companies will bid for the 5G network,” he said during the launch of Penang’s 5G demonstration at Komtar today.

The MCMC has proposed the 700MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz bandwidths for the 5G service.

5G is expected to be at least 10 times faster than the present 4G network carried by most telco providers, with speeds going beyond 1 gigabit per second.

Lim also sought to allay fears of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) from 5G telco towers affecting the health of the public, saying these were as safe as WiFI signals.

He said 24,000 studies conducted showed there was no evidence of EMF causing any sickness such as cancer, with the World Health Organisation endorsing the results.

Lim said MCMC has taken note of the growing anti-telco tower activists in Penang and assured them that the EMF at each tower is being constantly monitored.

He also said MCMC would consider taking the Scandinavian and Chinese path in introducing transmitters built into walls and street poles in the near future.

“Indoor towers are key. Sometimes, when people do not see something, they do not fear it. Take a look at WiFI routers. You don’t see the access points but it is there. They are hiding in plain sight, so to speak,” he said.

Earlier, Lim and state Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo announced that Penang would begin the 5G service trial from September next year.

Jagdeep said this would be just in time for the 24th World Congress on Information Technology, where Penang is playing host. He said Penang is one of six states where 5G trials will be carried out.

Lim said eight companies have committed to an initial investment of RM116 million for 5G demonstration projects from this month to March 2020.

Besides Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur will also have 5G trial runs.

The companies involved are Altel Communications Sdn Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi.Com Bhd, edotco Group Sdn Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Petronas, Telekom Malaysia Bhd and UMobile Sdn Bhd.

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