Maxis, Telekom Malaysia, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi had signed SSAs in December 2023 to collectively take a 70% stake in DNB

Malaysian 5G wholesale operator Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) announced that four of five local carriers have met the deadline to complete their share subscription agreements (SSAs), paving the way for the launch of a second 5G network in the country.

DNB noted that Maxis, Telekom Malaysia, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi had signed SSAs in December 2023 to collectively take a 70% stake in DNB, with each taking a 14% stake.

Malaysia’s Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil had recently said all SSAs must be fully completed by June 21, adding that those operators who failed to do so will not be allowed to take part in the government’s planned second 5G network.

DNB said that all conditions precedent under the SSA were successfully met on June 20 by Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi. Meanwhile, Telekom Malaysia still needs to acquire approval from shareholders in accordance with its governance requirements. DNB said Telekom Malaysia now has time until August 21 to complete the process.  

The Minister of Finance (MOF) will own the remaining 30% stake in DNB.

DNB was set up by the Malaysian government in 2021 as a special purpose vehicle to develop the country’s 5G network infrastructure, which private telecommunications firms would use to offer 5G services to their customers. DNB’s 5G network was deployed by Ericsson.

Malaysia’s 5G network now covers 81.5% of populated areas, and as of end-April 2024, Malaysia has recorded 13.2 million 5G service subscriptions, representing an adoption rate of 39.2%

In May 2023, Malaysian authorities had said that the country would shift to a dual 5G network once DNB achieved 80% coverage in populated areas, something that occurred in December 2023.

At the time, Fadzil said the decision to allow a second 5G network in the country was made with the aim of avoiding a single point of failure and to establish redundancy for 5G services.

The government said the second 5G network will chiefly focus on additional aspects such as the implementation of 5G technology across different vertical sectors.

Local press reports stated that the Communications Ministry, Digital Ministry, Finance Ministry and Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry recently held discussions to define strategies and action plans for the implementation of the second 5G network in the Asian nation.

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