Malaysia is reportedly close to finalising a plan for the sale of a 70% equity stake in Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the state-owned special purpose vehicle which is overseeing the rollout of the country’s sole 5G network. Although the government had previously sought to reach an agreement related to this matter by the end of June 2022, Reuters now cites Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa as saying a final deal could be announced next week. With it suggested that a total of six companies will take a combined 70% stake in DNB, the minister said: ‘They have reached a certain understanding and everything will be concluded by next week, by 8 July.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May this year reports emerged suggesting that Malaysia’s four major mobile communications providers – Celcom Axiata, DiGi Telecommunications, Maxis and U Mobile – were seeking a majority stake in DNB. Objections to the government’s proposal for the stake were reported to have come after it had offered a stake of up to 70% of DNB, but with this to be split among a wider group of companies; a total of nine firms were invited to participate in the stake sale, which would have meant the four big players taking only a combined minority stake. In a letter sent by the firms to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in May, Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U-Mobile countered the proposal by the government which had offered them a minority stake in DNB, while they also called for a review of the pricing model and network access plan offered by the agency.