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KUALA LUMPUR: The government is willing to consider fiscal incentives to assist telcos’ transition to 5G, to mitigate any short-term commercial consequences of providing 5G services to their customers.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the availability and adoption of 5G contribute to the nation’s digital ambitions while ensuring connectivity as a basic right for Malaysians.

“As I mentioned earlier, 5G will boost the economy by RM650 billion and create 750,000 high-value jobs between now and 2030. Hence, the success of our 5G deployment is a matter of public interest,” he said in an interview with The Straits Times yesterday.

In the medium to long term, he said these telcos will reap the benefits of 5G without the need for additional government assistance.

“The larger issue is Malaysians’ and businesses’ access to 5G technology.

“If telcos, particularly the larger ones, continue to delay providing 5G services to their customers, as recently mentioned by the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, the ministry will consider other options, such as issuing new licences to new players to enable the speedy delivery of 5G services in the country.

“Indeed, the interests of Malaysia and its people must take precedence over the telcos’ narrow commercial interests,” he said.

According to the minister, the first stage of the equity take-up process — which involved gathering feedback from telcos on a confidential consultation document issued by Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) — was successfully completed in early June.

“We are now in the second stage, which is the distribution of a Term Sheet for the telcos’ equity participation.

“This Term Sheet summarises the key terms under which DNB will be governed as an entity with both the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and telcos as shareholders. DNB and interested telcos will then work on signing the Term Sheet as soon as possible,” he added.

DNB is a Malaysian special-purpose vehicle company owned by the MoF, and is regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

DNB was established in early March 2021 to drive the development of the 5G infrastructure in Malaysia.-Bernama

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