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Six Major Malaysian Telcos Finally Reach 5G Access Deal With DNB

The six major mobile carriers in Malaysia — Celcom, Digi, Maxis, TM, U Mobile and YTL — have finally agreed to sign a deal for 5G access with state-owned vehicle Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). This was first reported by The Edge and later confirmed by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul on his Facebook page, with DNB announcing that consumers can expect telcos to rollout 5G later this month.

malaysia dnb 5g

This comes just after Celcom, Digi, TM and YTL Communications finalised their share agreement in DNB, holding a total of 65% of the company, although their respective boards will still have to approve the purchase by 30 October. Broken down, TM and YTL hold 20% of shares each while Celcom and Digi only hold 12.5% of the pie each — the reason for the smaller slice is due to Celcom and Digi's upcoming merger, which will see MergeCo holding a 25% stake after it's done.

DNB said that merged entities are not allowed to hold more than 25% of shares while individual companies can only acquire a maximum of 20%. The remaining 35% will be held by the government, though this means there is a bit left over from the initial 70% stake offered to be shared amongst telcos. Tengku Zafrul had previously stated that any outstanding shares could potentially be offered to foreign carriers.

malaysia dnb 5g
Credit: DNB

You may have noticed that two major players are missing from this equation. That's because both Maxis and U Mobile decided to reject a minority stake in DNB while still taking part in the 5G deployment — they would miss out on 5G otherwise as DNB is the country's sole 5G network operator.

At the moment, YTL's Yes is the only telco offering commercial 5G plans in Malaysia while Celcom recently started its user trials. 5G coverage throughout the country currently stands at 33% in populated areas, with a target of 40% by the end of the year and 80% by 2024.

  • Celcom, Digi, Maxis, TM, U Mobile and YTL have agreed to join DNB's 5G network.

  • The telcos are expected to launch their 5G plans this month.

  • Maxis and U Mobile decided not to take a minority stake in DNB while still reaching a deal for 5G access.

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