5G talk ‘load of hot air’, says telco CEO

Malaysia’s plan to roll out 5G technology is a load of hot air, redONE Network Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Farid Yunus said.

He said telecommunication companies would prefer 5G to be introduced later.

“Whenever people ask me about 5G, my answer is it cannot come late enough. All this 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G … it’s just a way for vendors to sell more kits to the telecommunication companies,” Farid said on The RSS with HD – Extended which was aired yesterday.

“People like Celcom spend RM2 billion a year on network infrastructure. At the end of the day, 5G is not really about getting shorter buffer time on your downloads. It was designed for Internet of Things, self-driving cars, things that require very low latency and it’s not for consumers really.”

“So our government making a big deal about 5G, it’s a load of hot air. Take it from me, if it’s up to the telcos, we would delay 5G for another five years,” he added.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in January said Malaysia is on track to commercially roll out 5G technology in the third quarter of 2020.

Dr Mahathir had then said the convergence of 5G and different industrial sectors such as agriculture, education and tourism, presents new opportunities for the industries and individuals to deliver better services.

It was reported on Tuesday that a giant telecommunications group from China was seeking partners in Malaysia with 5G capabilities as the group is investing billions of ringgit in the technology this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has prompted two of Thailand’s major mobile operators Advanced Info Service and True Corp to rev up deployment of 5G technologies, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to have commercial 5G services.

redONE Network is Malaysia’s first mobile virtual network operator and launched its services in Singapore last year, with plans to expand further in Southeast Asia.

Farid said he is lucky to be in an industry that is resilient in times of crisis and recession.

“We are one of the few industries that didn’t really suffer too badly. We have seen our sales drop … we are not getting new subscribers but our existing subscribers don’t have the opportunity to not go to another network.

“The only downside we see is our collections. Because we are postpaid, we bill people but in the past they would go to our dealers and 90 per cent of them would pay through the dealers and not online.”

Nevertheless, Farid said the company has seen a change in behaviour as more people are now paying online.

“We have seen revenue drop by about 10 to 15 per cent but again I’m thankful other industries have dropped to zero per cent,” he said on the weekly talk show.

The RSS with HD – Extended is aired on YouTube (The RSS) every Wednesday at 4pm. Hosted by actor Rashid Salleh who is joined by Twentytwo13 editor Haresh Deol, the talk show is an extension of The RSS with HD which airs every Sunday at 4pm.

The shows are produced by Toucan Media and Professional Storytellers with local brand Amnig being the official apparel.