The Malaysian government is sticking to its guns and has outright refused to extend the 30 June deadline for telcos to agree to purchase a stake in Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) and sign up for its 5G network. DNB had made its pricing public back in April through its Reference Access Offer (RAO), but most major telcos still have not signed the deal including Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz told the Straits Times that the deadline may be extended to early July if necessary but noted that it won’t go beyond that. He also said that a term sheet laying out the main terms of governance and equity issues will be ready in June.
Zafrul also reiterated what Communications Minister Annuar Musa has said earlier this week that the government might consider issuing licenses to new players for the 5G rollout if telcos keep haggling over the 5G contracts. To compromise with the telcos, the minister offered “fiscal incentives” to assist the transition to 5G and mitigate any short-term commercial consequences.
The Big Four, made up of Celcom, Maxis, Digi, and U Mobile, has close to 90% of the market share. The telcos have proposed to own a 51% stake in DNB instead of the reported minority stake after their plans of developing a second 5G network fell through.
The Finance Ministry rejected the proposal but shortly after, Annuar said that no final decision has been made on the four provider’s bid on majority ownership in the infrastructure vehicle. So far, only TM and YTL Communications have signed up for both the 5G network and the stake in DNB.
Out of the two companies, Yes is the only telco that has rolled out a commercial 5G plan available for consumers. Yes Infinite provides unlimited 5G data that starts at only RM58 per month while the Infinite Plus plan also offers a free 5G-enabled smartphone.
(Source: Straits Times)