Malaysia sticks with single 5G network plan; 70% equity stake in DNB to be offered to cellcos

17 Mar 2022

The government of Malaysia has confirmed it is sticking with its plans to deploy 5G technology via a single wholesale network (SWN), while also revealing it will offer local mobile network operators (MNOs) an up to 70% equity stake in Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), the company rolling out the new mobile infrastructure.

In a release issued following a press conference held by the finance minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, and communications and multimedia minister, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, it was claimed by the authorities that the DNB-led SWN model based on ‘cost recovery’ and ‘supply-driven’, coupled with equity participation of telcos, remained ‘the best solution to accelerate the deployment of 5G network rollout with the objective of encouraging the use of 5G by the people’.

With regards to the plans to offer a stake in DNB, Tengku Zafrul said the Cabinet has agreed that the state – which currently holds 100% equity in DNB – will offer up to 70% of the equity stake to cellcos. The ownership, value of equity and other aspects related to the proposed equity participation are reportedly subject to negotiations between DNB and the operators, while it is understood that the equity offering process will commence no later than June 2022.

Commenting, the finance minister noted: ‘With the new ownership structure, the government will hold 30% equity. DNB will be regulated by KKMM (the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia) as the ministry responsible for the communications industry through the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), like other telcos … The Ministry of Finance will continue to monitor DNB in terms of governance and as a shareholder,’ the minister of finance noted. Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul suggested that this public-private partnership approach will facilitate DNB towards achieving its target to cover 80% of the country’s populated areas with 5G by 2024.