Malaysia’s four largest telecommunication companies are resisting government efforts to give them only a minority stake in the country’s 5G network operator.
The big four providers also want a review of the pricing model and network access plan offered by the agency, according to the May 9 letter.
“We would not be able to justify a passive minority investment in this venture without being able to exercise influence and control to safeguard our investment,” the letter said.
Risk of Rollout Delay
Their objections to the government’s proposal, which offered up to 70% of Malaysia’s sole 5G network operator spread among a wider group of companies, raise the risk of delays to Malaysia’s 5G rollout.
The companies and the finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The communications ministry, which was sent a copy of the letter, and the 5G state agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) also did not comment.
Malaysia in March offered all telecom firms in the country a combined equity stake of up to 70% in DNB, which is tasked with deploying 5G.
Wireless carriers had complained about its plan for a state-run network that will charge telcos for 5G access rather than allocating them spectrum.
They said the plan would undermine competition and called for creating a second 5G network, but in March said they would be open to the government’s alternative proposal for equity stakes in DNB.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell