KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Two mobile network operators’ (MNOs) decision not to subscribe for Digital Nasional Bhd’s (DNB) shares will not have a major impact on the government financially as it is understood that several local and foreign banks are prepared to finance the 5G implementation in Malaysia, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Aziz said today.

“This also reflects the confidence of the private sector in the country’s 5G development plan,” he said.

There is also the possibility shares in the state-owned 5G agency would be offered to foreign MNOs.

“The option to offer equity shareholdings to foreign MNOs is also there because various foreign MNOs have expressed their desire to contribute to the local 5G network development.


“The government’s policy is to prioritise domestic MNOs, but it does not rule out the possibility of offering the remaining shares that can be subscribed in DNB to foreign MNOs,” he told Bernama.

“Of course, the decision impacts the 5G implementation timeline (in terms of delaying it) for the people and businesses, and we need to accept the fact that Malaysia is (already) lagging behind in terms 5G applications compared with neighbouring countries in the region,” he said.

Recently, two out of the four MNOs committed to subscribing to DNB’s shares have to re-discuss with their top management and respective boards of directors on the possibility of subscribing different amounts of equity shareholdings.


Four MNOs — Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi.com Bhd, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YES), and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) — are standing firm by their respective decisions to subscribe to DNB shares.

It is understood that Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd do not plan to take a stake in DNB.

New share subscription agreement (SSA) in September, 80 per cent 5G coverage by 2024

“We hope that this decision can be finalised in September,” Tengku Zafrul said, referring to the share subscription agreement (SSA). He also hoped that 5G services can be offered to benefit Keluarga Malaysia as soon as possible.

“The most important thing is that the 5G implementation will benefit the people and businesses. During the negotiation period to finalise the SSA, I understand that DNB has also negotiated on the 5G access agreement,” he said.

For MNOs that do not subscribe to DNB shares, they can still offer 5G access via the 5G access agreement.

The 5G infrastructure development is very important for Malaysia to build a digital-based economy with the potential to achieve various multiplier effects, such as a cumulative rise in the gross domestic product (GDP) of up to RM650 billion for the 2022-2030 period, as well as generate 750,000 skilled and high-income jobs, Tengku Zafrul said.

“It will also benefit nine industries and sectors, and will encourage the development of 15 smart cities,” he said.

The Finance Ministry, via its equity shareholding in DNB, will ensure that the 5G network and infrastructure is developed as soon as possible, and that DNB remains on track to achieve 80 per cent 5G coverage in populated areas by 2024. — Bernama