Four Malaysian ministries to develop action plan for the second 5G network

Discussions around the action plan to implement the second 5G network started just as the five telco operators participating in the DNB are reportedly ready to sign their share subscription agreements by June 21.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

June 3, 2024

2 Min Read
Hands holding a phone with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
(Source: Davidovich Mikhail/Alamy Stock Photo)

The Malaysian government has started laying the groundwork for the country's second 5G network with four ministries holding a comprehensive discussion over the weekend to develop an action plan to implement the network.

According to the state news agency Bernama, a discussion held Saturday afternoon involved the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Digital, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, with a focus on the functions and roles of the four ministries in ensuring the successful implementation of the dual network model.

"The government is committed to implementing the second 5G network and will ensure the sustainability of the telecommunications ecosystem with the aim of further strengthening the economic position and quality of life of the people," Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil reportedly said in a Facebook post.

Besides Fahmi, Bernama reported that the discussions were attended by Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan and Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

The establishment of a second 5G network is subject to the condition that Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) has covered 80% of populated areas – which the DNB achieved late last year. As of the end of April, its coverage has reached 81.5% of populated areas.

Five telcos ready to sign SSAs with the DNB

In a separate Bernama report, Fahmi said that the five telco operators participating in the DNB are ready to sign their share subscription agreements (SSAs) with DNB this month.

"The telcos must complete the share subscription agreement for DNB equity by June 21, and generally they are ready to sign it," he said, adding his optimism that the formal process of forming the second can begin once the SSAs have been finalized.

Over a week ago, the DNB board gave Telekom Malaysia, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi's Infranation 20 days to complete their SSAs. Each of the telco operators hold a 14% stake in DNB – collectively owning 70% of Malaysia's state-mandated wholesale 5G operator – after signing their respective SSAs in December 2023.

However, the SSAs have yet to be finalized amid a reported wrangling between the DNB and the five telcos over the details of the "condition precedents," which must be settled before the SSAs can take effect.

In its ultimatum to the five telco operators, the DNB board said none of them will be allowed to bid on the second 5G network unless they completed their SSAs with the DNB.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia-Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism, joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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