By Rozanna Latiff
KUALALUMPUR – Malaysia is expected to announce a plan for the sale of a 70% equity stake in the state-run 5G agency to six companies by next week, Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa said on Thursday.
The Malaysian government had aimed to wrap up discussions on the stake sale in Digital Nasional Berhad by the end of June.
Reuters had reported last month that Malaysia’s four largest telecommunications firms had sought a majority stake, countering a government proposal to offer them minority ownership.
Minister Annuar said an official announcement could come next week and that discussions were going according to plan.
“They have reached a certain understanding and everything will be concluded by next week, by the eighth of July,” Annuar told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event.
He did not provide any details.
Celcom Axiata Bhd, DiGi Telecommunications, Maxis Bhd and U Mobile were the four companies that had sought a combined majority stake.
The companies also want a review of the pricing model and network access plan offered by the 5G agency, according to a May letter sent by the firms to the finance ministry and reported by Reuters.
Also complicating Malaysia’s 5G plans is an impasse between DNB and the four major players over pricing and transparency, including concern that a sole state-run network would result in a nationalised monopoly, Reuters has reported.
Only two smaller operators – Telekom Malaysia and YTL Communications, a unit of YTL Corporation – have signed up to the government’s 5G plan.
Telekom Malaysia Chief Executive Imri Mokhtar said the company was in the final stages of discussion on the shareholding in DNB.
“We will make an announcement once any deal is finalised,” he said at the same event.