Malaysia’s big four telco operators are seeking an approach “that is typical of any major mergers and acquisitions process” after being offered equity stakes in 5G infrastructure vehicle Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB).
Celcom Axiata Bd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd said in a joint statement that they have “officially expressed interest” to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia to further understand and explore the stake offer.
The four mobile network operators (MNOs) added they would like to discuss and seek input from the government on the details of the offer.
“The MNOs are keen to collaborate with (the two Ministries) and look forward to an approach that is typical of any major mergers and acquisitions process.
“The MNOs have recommended setting up project teams to align on processes such as due diligence, transaction timelines and other administrative matters,” the telco players said.
Putrajaya announced its decision to offer a 70% equity stake in DNB to MNOs on March 16, following a pushback by the industry players against the single wholesale network (SWN) model.
Malaysia is implementing the SWN model for 5G infrastructure roll-out, where DNB will own 5G infrastructure assets nationwide and lease it to MNOs, as opposed to MNOs developing and owning their own towers, as practised during the 4G roll-out.
Two MNOs, namely YES under YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, and Unifi Mobile under Telekom Malaysia Bhd, signed up for DNB’s 5G rollout pilot in mid-December 2021.
Maxis, Celcom, DiGi and UMobile had instead proposed a dual wholesale network (DWN) with the MNOs as the shareholders of the second wholesale network provider.
Negotiations to hammer out the details, including how much the telcos would be paying for the 70% in DNB alongside wholesale capacity take-up commitments in it, are targeted for completion by end-June. Under DNB, Malaysia’s 5G network coverage is targeted to reach 80% of the population by end-2024. The Edge Markets