DNB telcos have 20 days to finalise SSAs as govt touts private 5G – Developing Telecoms

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Malaysian wholesale 5G operator Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) has reportedly given the five telcos taking stakes in the company 20 days to finalise the process as the government looks to get on with launching a second 5G operator and encourage private 5G adoption.

According to the Bernama news agency, DNB held its first board meeting on Monday with new board members representing Telekom Malaysia, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi’s Infranation. All five signed share subscription agreements (SSAs) in December 2023 to collectively take a 70% stake in DNB, with each taking a 14% stake, while the Minister of Finance (MOF) will hold the remaining 30% as well as a “special share”.

However, the SSAs have not yet been finalised because the telcos have not yet agreed on the “condition precedents” that have to be settled before the SSAs can take effect. In April, DNB admitted that SSA negotiations were still ongoing, but firmly denied a media report in April that negotiations had broken down completely.

On Tuesday, Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil told Bernama that the DNB board has given the telcos 20 days to sort everything out, adding that they will not be allowed to make bids for the government’s planned second 5G network until the SSAs are completed.

Fahmi added the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will announce a tender process “soon” to kick off the bidding process for the second 5G network.

Fahmi said DNB’s 5G network coverage for populated areas now stands at 81.5% as of April 30, well over the 80% threshold required to greenlight a second network. He also said the 5G adoption rate has reached 39.2%.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government sees private 5G as a missing piece of the overall 5G puzzle, and is making moves to correct that.

Fahmio said that in the next week or two, the MCMC and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) will sign an MoU to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) adopt and implement 5G for their businesses.

In a separate Bernama report, Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo said his ministry is talking with MCMC to create a policy to encourage private 5G rollouts for industrial use cases.in sectors such as health, manufacturing, agriculture and aquaculture.

Gobind made the remarks on Monday while attending a showcase trial of automotive supplier Clarion Malaysia’s new 5G-enabled manufacturing line.

Clarion is using YTL Communications’ Yes 5G Private Network for 5G connectivity, as well as smart manufacturing solutions from Cnergenz such as cloud-based inventory systems and AI-powered autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).

Also on Monday, U Mobile announced it has successfully wrapped up a private 5G network proof-of-concept (PoC) with Enfrasys Solutions to automate the container inspection process for transport and logistics company Transocean Logistics.

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