After Maxis and U Mobile’s snub, DNB says 5G deal to proceed with four carriers

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 – After being rejected by two mobile network operators (MNOs), Digital National Berhad (DNB) said that the 5G share subscription agreements (SSAs) will be revised to accommodate just the four remaining major telecommunications firms.

The national 5G agency said it considered the SSAs finalised and ready to be executed with the six mobile carriers yesterday, but two ultimately did not continue.

“The four MNOs remain interested, and it is envisaged that the equity participation process will progress to completion with the MNOs concerned,” DNB said in a statement today.

“Accordingly, revisions to the transaction documents (SSAs and Shareholder Agreement) need to be made to allow for the equity subscription by 4 MNOs (instead of six), which consequently require further internal approvals from the four MNOs,” they said.

DNB said that one operator decided not to proceed while the other did not respond despite its confirmation to participate earlier.

The firm did not name the carriers, although it was earlier reported that Maxis Berhad and U Mobile had declined to take up the shareholder agreement after negotiations did not meet their requirements.

A Reuters report quoting sources said that the two mobile carriers declined the offer after the government knocked back a proposal that four carriers — Maxis, U Mobile, along with Celcom Axiata Bhd and DiGi Telecommunications — take a combined majority stake in the agency.

But the government had instead asked six mobile operators in the country to agree to take up a combined 70 per cent stake in the agency, but Maxis and U Mobile reportedly declined, as they could not see benefits of being a minority shareholder.

Maxis and U Mobile could not see benefits in being a minority shareholder in DNB, according to two of the sources, who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to talk about the private negotiations.

Despite the development, however, DNB said that discussions on the 5G access agreements were progressing with all six major mobile carriers in the country and that the rollout plan is on track.

“DNB is committed to ensure that the 5G network and infrastructure will continue to be deployed on an accelerated basis.

“At present, 5G coverage has reached approximately 30 per cent of populated areas and is on track to achieve the target of 80 per cent coverage of populated areas by 2024,” they said.