KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s five major phone network operators signed share subscription agreements today to acquire a collective 70% equity stake in Digital Nasional Bhd, the country’s 5G wholesale network supplier.
CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia, and YTL Power International will each buy a 14% stake in DNB, pumping in RM233 million each – or a total of RM1,165 million – which will be used for DNB’s funding requirements.
The share subscriptions are expected to be completed only between February and April next year after due diligence requirements are met, according to a press handout from the communications and digital ministry.
Communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil said the government will retain a golden share in DNB, as well as the remaining 30% stake, through the Minister of Finance Incorporated.
The share subscription is the precursor to the setting up of a second 5G network, which will be a commercial operation.
Fahmi told a press conference after the signing ceremony that the next step is to help DNB complete the implementation of the 5G network by achieving 80% coverage in populated areas,
“As of the end of October, we have reached 73%. Upon reaching 80%, the government will announce the establishment of a new entity,” he said.
The new entity, or Entity B, will be the second 5G network announced by the government in May.
Fahmi said the telecommunications companies will engage in discussions and come to a decision on which one among them will enter Entity B.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would be the regulatory authority “to ensure fair competition between the two networks for the benefit of the people”, Fahmi said.
He said the government will hold no stake in the second network, which is to be entirely commercial.
Fahmi said the companies have agreed that the wholesale prices for 5G will not increase with the second network rollout, ensuring a “no worse off” condition.
In a stock exchange filing, CelcomDigi (through its subsidiary Infranation Sdn Bhd) and Maxis said they would subscribe to 100,000 shares in DNB at the issue price of RM1 per share, Bernama reported.
DNB has an issued share capital of RM500 million comprising 500 million ordinary shares.
CelcomDigi’s shares closed 10 sen lower at RM4.24 with 34.51 million shares traded on Bursa Malaysia while Maxis added six sen to RM3.96 with 994,500 shares changing hands.
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