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Malaysia Readies $3.7 Billion 5G Network as Telcos Mull Stakes

  • State firm has offered up to 70% equity to all local operators
  • Four major carriers pushing for combined 51% stake instead
Commuters use mobile devices on an LRT train in Kuala Lumpur.

Commuters use mobile devices on an LRT train in Kuala Lumpur.

Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

Trailing regional rivals in the race to offer 5G mobile services, Malaysia is finally pressing ahead with a plan to roll out the high-speed network across the country even as local carriers wrangle over equity participation in the project.

State-owned Digital Nasional Bhd., which is building the infrastructure at a cost of 16 billion ringgit ($3.7 billion) spread over 10 years, has offered all nine telecommunication companies in the Southeast Asian country equal stakes totaling as much as 70% by June 30. But the top four carriers have been pushing for a combined 51% majority stake to themselves instead.