Malaysia’s six mobile network operators (MNOs) have agreed terms in their respective access agreements (AAs) with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the company that has been tasked with rolling out the country’s sole 5G network. As reported by TheEdgeMarkets on 8 October, the six cellcos – Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and Telekom Malaysia – have ironed out previous issues to agree terms on leasing DNB’s 5G network which is being deployed nationwide, with the execution of AAs now awaiting final board approvals by 30 October, according to sources familiar with the MNOs. Following this milestone, 5G services are expected to be made available to consumers in the near future by all operators. (Note that one MNO, YTL, has already introduced 5G services under an initial agreement with DNB, with a soft-launch in December 2021 progressing to a commercial launch in May 2022.)
On 7 October DNB announced that it had executed share subscription agreements (SSAs) with four of the MNOs – Celcom, Digi, YTL and Telekom Malaysia – which will collectively acquire a 65% stake in the special purpose vehicle (SPV). Celcom and Digi will each take up a 12.5% stake, while YTL and Telekom will own 20% each. The Ministry of Finance will hold the remaining 35% stake. DNB noted that the 12.5% shareholdings for Celcom and Digi are in recognition of their imminent merger. In stock exchange filings, the MNOs noted that SSAs are conditional upon the execution of AAs.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Maxis and U Mobile earlier opted out of taking a stake in DNB.
DNB says it is accelerating the 5G network rollout, targeting 80% coverage of populated areas by 2024. DNB chairman Datuk Seri Asri Hamidon noted: ‘As of today, the 5G network has achieved 33% coverage of populated areas, as against a target of approximately 40% by end-2022. The testing and integration of 5G sites by the MNOs have progressed well and I believe they are ready to provide 5G services to end-users located in areas where 5G infrastructure is currently available.’