Today I read that Malaysia was establishing a government owned 5G services provider (Govt to build its own 5G network with Telekom Malaysia and Huawei (malaysianwireless.com)) with management provided by the government, the government linked incumbent telecom operator, Telekom Malaysia, and Huawei, the Chinese equipment provider. Malaysia may not be alone. As you may remember, the Trump Administration had explored such an approach as well (Trump Administration Considers a Government-Owned 5G Network (idropnews.com)).
This raises a number of issues including whether a government-owned monopoly is the best way to ensure that 5G services are deployed and operated. As experience has shown time and time again (and the history we trace in our documentary traces), a telecommunications marketplace defined by private sector competition leads to consumer benefits – from lower prices to innovative services. The period following the introduction of competition to AT&T in the United States and the privatization and liberalization of government-owned phone monopolies around the globe demonstrate that. In the immediate years following the introduction of competition, access to and the quality of telecommunications services greatly increased, and prices greatly decreased. Today, we continue to see the benefits of competition through the wide-variety of choices available in the marketplace.
I am the last to say our telecommunications marketplace is perfect. We struggle with a variety of issues including solving the digital divide and the like. I lived through the time when government and monopoly phone companies were the only choices. Where if a long-distance call was received, for instance, we could only talk literally to that person for a minute or two because the rates were astronomical. Where there was only one model of phone you could buy; back and chunky. I can tell you that we never want to revisit that time again. I prefer a time where I have a variety of services and providers I can choose from with reliable service.