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Two Malaysian telcos reject government-led 5G scheme

Malaysia.jpeg

Two of Malaysia’s biggest operators will not take a stake in the government-owned 5G agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), a Reuters source says.

The decision by Maxis Bhd and U Mobile has disrupted government plans to sign agreements with other carriers and threatens to derail the country’s 5G rollout.

The Malaysian government initially wanted six of the country’s mobile operators to take on a combined 70% stake in DNB.

The deadline for an agreement to be reached was yesterday.

A proposal from Maxis, U Mobile, Celcom Axiata and DiGi Telecommunications to take a combined majority stake was declined by the government.

Maxis and U Mobile reportedly could not see the benefits of being a minority shareholder in the 5G entity but added that they want to remain in talks for access to the 5G network.

Malaysia’s 5G rollout has faced ongoing issues. The four main carriers in the country refused to get on board with 5G trials conducted by two smaller operators in December 2021.

They felt that the government’s plans for DNB to control 5G spectrum would undermine competition and raise concerns over pricing and transparency.

The project reportedly cost around US$3.7 billion over ten years.