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Fahmi: DNB-related updates to be announced tomorrow, dual network policy for 5G will continue

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Fahmi: DNB-related updates to be announced tomorrow, dual network policy for 5G will continue

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Fahmi: DNB-related updates to be announced tomorrow, dual network policy for 5G will continue


Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil has revealed that several important updates related to Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) will be announced tomorrow. It appears that more details on the next steps for Malaysia’s 5G rollout including the policy shift towards a dual network will be revealed soon.

As reported by Bernama, Fahmi revealed that there will be a DNB event in Penang where Digital Minister Gobind Singh will make several announcements regarding the appointment of board members and the direction of DNB.

In addition, Fahmi also said that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) very soon to expedite the adoption of 5G networks specifically for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector and industry.

The Communications Minister said there are now over 35% of telco users who have subscribed to 5G packages as of 17th April 2024 but there’s a need to accelerate the adoption among industrial sectors and MSMEs.

Fahmi also said, “Next week, if all goes well, there will be some additional announcements regarding the implementation of the 5G network… this will give a clear direction and also related to the dual network that was announced before. The dual network policy will continue and a follow-up announcement will be made by next week.”

5 telcos sign Share Subscription Agreement to acquire 70% stake in DNB

At the moment, there’s still a question mark on the progress of the Share Subscription Agreement which was signed by 5 telcos (CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile, TM and YTL Communications) to take a collective 70% stake in DNB. Channel News Asia recently reported that there was a 5G stalemate in Malaysia due to transparency concerns with DNB. Eventually DNB issued a statement refuting the report while insisting that all contracts including Ericsson were awarded transparently.

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The equity deal was signed in December 2023 and it was pending due diligence and approvals from the relevant authorities, financiers and vendors. This would be the second attempt by the government to get telcos to acquire a stake in DNB. The previous SSA signed by four telcos (Celcom, Digi, TM and YTL Communications) in October 2022 had failed to materialise after the long stop date to fulfil all conditions had lapsed. At the moment, DNB is a 100% state-owned special-purpose vehicle (SPV) under the Ministry of Finance.

Back in May 2023, the government also announced a 5G policy shift to transition from a Single Wholesale Network model to a Dual Network model. At the time, Fahmi said the decision to have two competing 5G networks was made to avoid a single point of failure and to establish redundancy for 5G.

Digital Nasional Bhd appoints directors from 5 telcos
Malaysia’s plan to transition to dual network model for 5G rollout

The second 5G network was supposed to start as early as January 2024 once DNB hits 80% 5G population coverage by the end of 2023. It was reported that DNB has achieved 80.2% 5G population coverage as of 31st December 2023. Almost four months on, there are no further updates on the formation of a second network.

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