Malaysian government to start discussing new 5G network: Report

DNB was set up by the Malaysian government in 2021 as a special purpose vehicle to develop the country’s 5G network

The government of Malaysia will start to discuss the transition to a dual 5G network scheme next week, local press reported, citing the country’s Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

“We need to convene the meeting first and appraise the current situation. We expect to have the meeting within the next week,” stated Fadzil. He also shared that representatives from the Finance Ministry and Digital Ministry would be present to discuss the dual 5G network scheme.

The official confirmed that the so-called ‘5G Task Force’ will have a meeting next week to start discussing the matter.

A few weeks ago, Fadzil said the rollout of the second 5G network was delayed due to the formation of the new board of state-run 5G network Digital Nasional Berhad (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.

In May 2023, the Malaysian government announced it will enable the deployment of a second 5G network in 2024, adding that a new entity will be created to manage Malaysia’s second 5G network. 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 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. That month, Malaysia’s five major mobile operators signed share subscription agreements to acquire a collective 70% equity stake in DNB.

Under the terms of the agreement, local carriers CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia and YTL Power International agreed to each buy a 14% stake in DNB, with an investment of about $50 million each. Those share subscriptions are expected to be completed between February and April 2024 after due diligence requirements are met, according to the Malaysian government.

Fadzil had previously said that the Malaysian government will retain a “golden” share in DNB, as well as the remaining 30% stake. The official also confirmed that the government will hold no stake in the second 5G network.

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