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First batch of NFCP deployment will be awarded in January 2020

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has announced that the NFCP 1 will be awarded to successful licensees that have been selected through a tender process in early January 2020. The NFCP 1 will cover a total of 153 locations which consists of 94 mukim in 8 states such as Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu and Sabah.

The MCMC has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for NFCP 2 on 15th November 2019. The second phase involves 500 locations comprising 210 mukim in 10 states, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak. Interested licensees must submit their bids by 31st March 2020.

Selected licensees under NFCP 1 and NFCP 2 are required to install network facilities and deploy network services using 3G and 4G to deliver an average speed of 30Mbps. This is among the 7 key targets under the NFCP initiative. Both NFCP 1 and NFCP 2 will be funded via the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund. The fund was created to bridge the digital devide and it is heavily contributed by licensed telcos in Malaysia.

Below is the breakdown of the number of locations under NFCP 1 and NFCP 2 by states:

Johor – 40
Kedah – 34
Kelantan – 52
Melaka – 4
Negeri Sembilan – 21
Pahang – 73
Perak – 32
Sabah – 165
Sarawak – 185
Terengganu – 47

The list of successful licensees appointed will be announced on the NFCP website.

To achieve the targets of the NFCP in the most cost-effective way, operators are urged to leverage on existing infrastructure including sharing of both mobile and fixed infrastructure and to avoid duplication of new infrastructure through coordinated planning. Industry players have agreed to collaborate in terms of infrastructure sharing and to coordinate their planning to ensure more locations are covered.

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Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh, has praised the State Governments and Local Authorities for facilitating NFCP-related initiatives by expediting relevant approval process at the state level while reducing required fees. The Minister said that for the first time, industry players have agreed to collaborate to find the best solution to share their infrastructure and this will help to achieve NFCP targets quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

MCMC has also set up an NFCP Operations Room that displays relevant metrics and dashboards that are focused on NFCP targets, quality of experience, quality of service and for project monitoring purposes. MCMC Chairman, Al-Ishsal Ishak had previously shared that the NFCP will create an estimated 20,000 jobs with opportunities in construction, operation and maintenance of the new infrastructure.

The NFCP is vital to close the digital gap as it accelerates improvements of telecommunications infrastructure in underserved areas. Malaysians living in remote towns are often neglected as it isn’t feasible for operators to expand its network in low-density areas. According to a recent report by Opensignal, there’s a 40% 4G coverage gap in districts with a sparse population of under 10 people per square KM versus high population areas with over 300 people per square KM.

[ IMAGE SOURCE ]

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Alexander Wong