KUALA LUMPUR: The government's commitment to see that mobile network providers do not charge extra for 5G access helps ensure that no consumer is left behind, says the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca).

Its chief executive officer Saravanan Thambirajah said the decision takes into account the rising cost of living and greater 5G adoption should lead to an overall increase in productivity.

"The technology is not only capable of providing a high-speed Internet experience at a rate of 10 to 100 times or up to 1.5GB per second compared to 4G technology, but also has a better quality connection.

"The efficiency of this connection ... has great potential to boost mobile communication, in addition to creating a new industry that brings benefits to the entire economy," he said when contacted.

Saravanan hoped that despite the efficiency of 5G technology, the government will continue to monitor and investigate consumer complaints if any additional charges are imposed.

On Jan 9, Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced that no additional charges would be imposed by telecommunications companies on users for access to the 5G network.

He added that all chief executive officers of telecommunications companies had conveyed this message to him.

Private sector worker Nur Fitri Ismail, 39, is of the view that 5G access is a necessity of its potential effect on daily life, including giving consumers access to information for work and education in particular.

"In terms of children's learning, especially when attending online tuition classes, good Internet coverage is a requirement as large amounts of data are involved.

"For example,for a plan of 60 gigabytes (GB) of data, my monthly bill has reached almost RM150.

"Normally, if there is a plan with a lot of data, the price is already expensive, so any additional charge for 5G access will burden the public more," she said.

Therefore, she hopes the government will continue to ensure that no hidden charges are imposed on users through telcos' packages or plans.

Such things may be evident if service plans suddenly go up in price and the government should have a mechanism in place to detect such increases, she added.

"The government needs to play a continuous role by monitoring periodically ... and (take) action accordingly," she said.

Online trader Farhana Zakaria, 32, said the move to keep 5G access costs down coincided with her need to use the technology to sell her products on ecommerce platforms and social media.

"For me, there is no need for additional charges because there were no charges even in the old 3G era. Online traders like me really depend on this facility.

"Besides, many people today are facing financial difficulties. If there are additional charges, usage will be limited because the people have to pay more and cannot take advantage of the technology and facilities provided by the government," she added.