Four Malaysian telecom operators agree to use state 5G network

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Four Malaysian mobile operators said on Monday they had agreed to use the state-owned 5G network, paving the way for the rollout of 5G services to customers after months of talks delayed.

Malaysia’s 5G plans had been repeatedly delayed since last year amid a standoff between the government and major carriers over pricing and transparency, including fears that a single state-run network does not result in a nationalized monopoly.

The government said a single shared network would cut costs, improve efficiency and speed up infrastructure work.

Celcom Axiata (AXIA.KL)DiGi Telecommunications (DSOM.KL)Telekom Malaysia (DSOM.KL) and U Mobile announced on Monday that they have signed agreements to access the 5G network run by state agency Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) for 10 years.

In its statement, U Mobile said it would start marketing 5G services to its customers from Thursday.

DiGi said the access deal incorporated “improvements to a few key terms” in the government’s “Reference Access Offer” (RAO) – a document released earlier this year setting out prices, service and other details of DNB’s wholesale 5G model.

The updated RAO was to be released after approval by Malaysia’s communications regulator, DiGi said.

A fifth operator, Maxis Bhd (MXSC.KL)said it was still evaluating the governance requirements for the access agreement.

Maxis, Celcom, DiGi and U Mobile – the country’s four main telecommunications companies – had previously asked the government to review the ROE, describing its pricing model as “not commercially viable”, Reuters reported in May.

The signing of the access agreements comes after Celcom, DiGi, Telekom and a fourth company, YTL Communications, agreed to take a collective 65% stake in DNB this month.

U Mobile and Maxis declined to take shares after the government turned down their proposed majority stake.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Martin Petty

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