Malaysia's plans for a joint 5G agreement between its six main mobile operators have suffered a big blow as two of its biggest operators have backed out of the plan.
Maxis and U Mobile have pulled out at the last minute, according to Reuters, which says the two operators will take no stake in the state-controlled 5G single wholesale network run by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB).
The Malaysian government had wanted the six main operators to agree on taking a combined 70 percent stake, with Maxis and U Mobile the last of the two to agree to the terms initially along with Telekom Malaysia, YTL Communications, Celcom Axiata, and DiGi. Wednesday had been the deadline for an agreement to be reached.
Reuters noted that people familiar with the matter said that the duo didn't see the benefits in the agreement, but have told the Malaysian government they want to remain in talks for access to DNB's 5G network.
The DNB told local media that the four remaining operators remain interested, while transaction documents need to be adjusted for the equity subscription by four carriers, rather than the original six.
Operators have been skeptical of the proposals put forward by the DNB, with many initially reluctant to agree to the plans.
The DNB has maintained that its 5G strategy will keep costs lower and speed up the deployment of 5G services in the country, which has faced regular delays.
The DNB says the rollout will cost RM16.5 billion ($3.7bn) for the next decade, with Ericsson selected as the network equipment provider.
By 2024, Malaysia's government wants 80 percent of populated areas in the country to be covered by 5G.