KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 31): Digi.Com Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd have joined Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) in announcing that they have each executed an agreement to access Digital Nasional Bhd’s (DNB) 5G single wholesale network.
In separate statements, the companies said they had entered into an access agreement with DNB to subscribe to the 5G network on Sunday (Oct 30), confirming a report by The Edge.
At the noon market break, Axiata shares were up 10 sen or 3.68% at RM2.82 each. Digi was six sen or 1.6% higher at RM3.81, while TM shares were up one sen or 0.18% at RM5.55 each. Maxis Bhd, which opted out of DNB’s equity stake sale, gained a sen or 0.26% to RM3.81.
The access agreements are for five mobile network operators (MNOs), namely Axiata’s unit Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi’s subsidiary Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, U Mobile, TM, and YTL Power International Bhd’s unit YTL Communications Sdn Bhd. The Edge has reached out to YTL Power and Maxis for comment.
The access agreements are for 10 years starting from Oct 7, 2022, according to filings and press statements by the MNOs.
U Mobile, in a statement, said it will begin providing 5G services from Nov 3 for its 5G-ready postpaid and prepaid customers. The single network makes it “as well positioned as any other” players for 5G, it added.
Separately, Digi said the concluded access agreements include “improvements in a few key terms” in the reference access offer first published by DNB on March 31.
The update is expected to be published upon approval by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Digi said in a statement.
“Digi will continue to invest in and operate its own core network, nationwide 4G+ network and data centres,” it said, adding that it is continuing 5G network testing with its technology partners and DNB.
Axiata, in announcing the signing, said that under the agreements, “there is no charge to be incurred in 2022”.
The signing of the access agreements represents a milestone for implementation of the single wholesale network model for 5G, first mooted in March 2021 amid a pushback by several industry players, which previously decided on their own as to where they would invest in network infrastructure.
The telco players came up with a number of proposals, including the setting up of a second 5G wholesale network provider. Pricing to lease the 5G network from DNB was also said to be among issues raised, according to reports.
After months of negotiations and several deadline postponements, four MNOs on Oct 7 agreed to separately take up a collective 65% stake in DNB, with the remaining 35% held by the Government together with a golden share.
Both Celcom Axiata and Digi Telecommunications will each take up a 12.5% stake, while YTL Communications and TM — the earliest adopters of the 5G network — will own 20% each.
Maxis and U Mobile declined to take up a stake, although U Mobile on Sunday executed its access agreement with DNB.