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Malaysia to begin tender process for second 5G network

The Communications Ministry led by Fahmi Fadzil has instructed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to begin the process of identifying and appointing a telco to build Malaysia’s second 5G network.

Fahmi has issued a Ministerial Direction (No. 1 of 2024) on the second carrier for 700MHz and 3.5GHz frequency bands and directs the MCMC to put together an Applicant Information Package (AIP) by 1st July 2024. The AIP essentially serves as an invitation to telcos to participate in the tender of building the second 5G network.

According to Fahmi, the process of appointing the second 5G network will be conducted transparently based on the powers and provisions under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The announcement comes after CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile and YTL Communications confirmed that all the conditions precedent under the Share Subscription Agreement (SSA) have been successfully met to acquire a collective 70% stake in Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). The participation of all telcos in DNB paves the way for Malaysia’s transition from a Single Wholesale Network model to a Dual 5G network model.

Fahmi said the existing Ministerial Direction (MD) on the Deployment of 5G issued during the past administration in 2021 to appoint DNB as the sole 5G provider has not yet been revoked. He added that there has to be a balance as the new shareholders of DNB would be given sufficient time to discuss certain financial matters with lenders as the financing for DNB was issued based on the original MD.

A new MD will be issued at a later time after the telco for the second 5G network has been identified. The process is expected to take a few months and the new MD will revoke the 2021 MD, effectively ending DNB’s monopoly for 5G infrastructure.

Fahmi said his ministry is committed to implementing the government’s decision to transition to a dual 5G network. He added that the implementation of the second 5G network will help to improve 5G coverage, establish healthy competition in the telecommunications sector and ensuring affordable and quality 5G services for the people.

The three main telcos – CelcomDigi, Maxis and U Mobile have expressed their readiness to build the second 5G network. DNB announced yesterday that CelcomDigi, Maxis, U Mobile and YTL will conclude their SSAs by the end of this month. Meanwhile, TM is still seeking its shareholders’ approval in accordance with its governance requirements and the long stop date for them is 21st August 2024. Soya Cincau

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