SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U Mobile, Malaysia’s fourth-biggest mobile carrier, has decided not to take a stake in state-owned 5G agency Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), it said on Thursday.
Malaysia has been one of the 5G laggards in Southeast Asia and protracted delays in talks between government and the country’s mobile operators on taking a combined 70% stake in DNB could spell a further setback for the rollout of 5G in the country.
“U Mobile has had extensive discussions and deliberations on the matter and after taking into consideration the terms of the investment as it currently stands, the telco has decided that it will not pursue the investment option in DNB,” the company said in a statement.
The announcement confirms a Reuters’ report on Wednesday citing sources saying that U Mobile and peer Maxis did not plan to take stakes in DNB as neither could not see benefits in being a minority shareholder in the 5G agency.
U Mobile, which counts Singapore’s Straits Mobile Investments and Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan among its shareholders, said its decision will not affect its ability to provide 5G services as access to DNB’s 5G network infrastructure is governed by a separate access agreement and not linked to the equity investment in DNB.
“U Mobile, along with the other telcos, is in discussion to finalise the 5G access agreement with DNB,” U Mobile said. “Once it is finalised and signed, DNB’s 5G access when combined with U Mobile’s existing 4G network will enable U Mobile customers to enjoy a truly seamless connectivity experience.”
(Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Susan Fenton)