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Axiata: CelcomDigi keen to participate in second 5G wholesale network, looks for more discussions with govt

Publish date: Fri, 26 May 2023, 04:25 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (May 26): Axiata Group Bhd is keen to participate in the second 5G wholesale network via its associate CelcomDigi Bhd and looks forward to further more discussions with the government, according to chairman Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

“We remain very supportive of the government's policy decision around the creation of a second [5G] network. This will be for our CelcomDigi associate, which is the largest mobile operator in Malaysia. [I think] a lot of details left, still left to be worked out,” he said at a virtual media briefing after the group's 31st annual general meeting on Friday (May 26). 

"We look forward to these discussions, and as more details become available, we will see how Axiata can assist," he added. 

Earlier this month, the government decided to tweak the 5G single wholesale network (SWN) model and allow the deployment of a second wholesale network once DNB reaches 80% coverage of populated areas by the end of this year. 

The government explained that it will act as a backup to fall back on if DNB's services are down, thus avoiding a single point of failure. 

Following the announcement, CelcomDigi announced the termination of the share subscription agreements to acquire a 25% stake in DNB, saying that the conditions precedent to the agreements had lapsed.  

DNB was formed as a special purpose vehicle by the then Finance Ministry in 2021 to own the full 5G spectrum under the SWN model, with various carriers using the infrastructure to provide mobile services. 

In October last year, four mobile network operators - Celcom, Digi, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd - announced they would jointly take a 65% stake in DNB, while Maxis Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd opted out.  

DNB's original plan was to offer a 70% stake to the six mobile network operators, which were each originally allowed to take 11.67% under the agreements. However, Maxis and U Mobile said they saw no advantage in being the minority shareholders in DNB and subsequently decided to withdraw from the 5G programme. 

At noon break, Axiata’s share price closed 2% lower at RM2.90 for a market value of RM27.45 billion.

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