Five telcos sign SSA for 70% equity in DNB, with each injecting RM233mil

  • TECH
  • Friday, 01 Dec 2023

Fahmi said the next step is to assist DNB in hitting the targeted 80% coverage of populated areas (COPA) for 5G. — ART CHEN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Five mobile network operators (MNOs) have signed a share subscription agreement (SSA) with Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) that will see each of them inject approximately RM233mil.

The capital from the MNOs – CelcomDigi (via Infranation Sdn Bhd), Maxis, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia, and YTL Power International Bhd – will be used to meet the wholesale network operator's funding requirements.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the next step is to assist DNB in hitting the targeted 80% coverage of populated areas (COPA) for 5G. Currently, COPA is at 73% as of October this year, with 7% remaining.

The MNOs were allocated a total of 70% equity, or 14% split evenly among them.

The remaining 30% equity will remain with the government under the Finance Ministry, which will hold a Special Share in DNB. The Special Share grants the ministry certain rights pertaining to national interests, along with the ability to appoint a director that represents it.

Once the 80% COPA target is achieved, the government will announce the formation of a new commercial-only entity, which it referred to as "Entity B", that will develop the second wholesale 5G network.

"We hope that a second network will allow for more rapid growth of the network and, at the same time, allow both Malaysian citizens and the companies within the industry to benefit from 5G," Fahmi said.

A mutual agreement will have to be reached among the MNOs as to which will make a jump to Entity B, with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) having the discretion to make the final decision should no deal be reached.

"While we have finally reached this point, it is only the beginning. From the side of the Communication and Digital Ministry and MCMC, we will continue to monitor the implementation to ensure that no issues arise.

"This will be done alongside the 5G Task Force, formed on May 9, which will also invite all parties for discussions to address any problems that can be overcome via cooperation among the parties involved," he said.

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