Exclusive: Maxis and U Mobile decline offer to invest in Malaysia’s 5G agency – sources

A woman walks past a logo of Maxis at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

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KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Two of Malaysia’s biggest mobile operators do not plan to become involved in a state-owned 5G agency, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters – a setback that could further delay the country’s rollout of 5G- Technology.

The decision by Maxis Bhd (MXSC.KL) and U Mobile comes after the government rejected a proposal by the two companies and two other major airlines – Celcom Axiata Bhd (AXIA.KL) and DiGi Telecommunications (DSOM.KL) – the four take a joint majority stake in the agency.

The government had instead asked six mobile operators in the country to agree to a joint 70 percent stake in the Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) agency, setting a deadline of Wednesday for that deal.

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According to two of the sources, who requested anonymity, Maxis and U Mobile could not see any benefits in being a minority shareholder in DNB because they were not authorized to speak about the private negotiations.

However, both firms have told the government they want to stay in talks to sign up for access to DNB’s 5G network, the two sources said.

Maxis, U Mobile, DNB and Malaysia’s Finance and Communications Ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Celcom and Digi declined to comment.

The four companies said they were unable to justify a minority stake without exercising influence and control over the agency, Reuters reported in May, citing a letter the companies sent to the government. Continue reading

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Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Yantultra Ngui; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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