Settlement deal between DNB, telcos could be worked out next week, says Anwar

SHAH ALAM: The ongoing settlement agreement between Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) and Malaysia's five private telecommunications companies (telcos) could be resolved by next week, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the issues could be sorted out soon.

“They will discuss it. They should find a solution to this... because they have a meeting then,” he said briefly on Sunday (April 21).

It was reported that DNB and the five telcos had been unable to reach a compromise after more than four months of negotiations related to the country’s superfast fifth-generation cellular network, or 5G.

Earlier, DNB denied allegations of not being transparent in its internal operations and rejected the insinuation of any impropriety in governance and procurement practices.

In a statement Saturday (April 20), DNB said its tender and procurement processes are structured according to the strictest governance standards and best practices.

DNB was responding to a Channel News Asia (CNA) article entitled "Malaysia's billion-dollar 5G roll-out stumbles as deal breaks down between powerful telcos, state-owned operator", published on Friday (April 19), and subsequently reported by other media outlets.

DNB said the article alleged that it had not been transparent in its internal operations over contracts awarded to third-party vendors, in particular for Ericsson's 5G network equipment, software procurement and "a potentially lucrative cloud services platform".

"DNB has always been open and transparent in its awarding of tenders and contracts – this matter has been addressed in detail various times in Parliament and reported in the media, repeatedly disproving the allegations," it said.

DNB also said the process with respect to share subscription agreements (SSA) signed with the five telcos is ongoing.

"We strongly deny the claims made otherwise but are unable to comment in specific terms due to confidentiality restrictions," it said.

DNB is a special-purpose vehicle company established in 2021 under the Finance Ministry and is now the sole owner of the 5G spectrum network, soon to be operating alongside the second network, which is yet to be finalised.

Given DNB's position as a public utility serving the public interest, the company emphasised that it is critical for published reports to be verified and based on accurate information.

DNB said it remains focused on continuing to deliver one of the best-performing and most reliable 5G networks in the world on an accelerated basis and within cost, as well as on increasing 5G adoption across industries, enterprises and the public, to help accelerate Malaysia's digital transformation.

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