SHAH ALAM: Failed merger talks between Telenor ASA and Axiata Group Bhd will not derail Digi.Com Bhd’s efforts to continue collaborating with other players especially in 5G.
Digi chairman Håkon Bruaset Kjøl said the company and parent Telenor remain committed to continue working with other players.
“This (termination of merger talks) does not stop Digi’s efforts at working with our ecosystem and the industry, so that we can address the challenges and opportunities in 5G.
“There are lot of things that go in the ecosystem and which can benefit Malaysia. Pertaining to the discussions on the merger, we have said what needed to be said,” Kjøl told reporters on the sidelines of the “Small Business, Big Impact: Sustainability as a Key Business Driver” forum here yesterday.
Kjøl is also Telenor Group senior vice-president for Asian partner and external relations.
Meanwhile, Digi chief corporate affairs officer Joachim Rajaram said the government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) further encapsulated the very same ambition as industry players, which is to drive inclusivity to internet access to all Malaysian citizens.
“The NFCP is a new way for the industry behaving and will see how we all come together to achieve connectivity ambition for the country.
“Broadly, as an industry itself, we have a good history of collaboration already. The big difference now is there is a realisation that no one organisation or company that could do it alone – be it between various operators, the industry and the government and the federal and state government.
“The basic principle is quite simple – infrastructure is a commodity. It is economically beneficial for us, but it also be environmentally more beneficial for us to make sure that we roll out infrasturcture in the coordinated way.
“These are not new things. This is something that the industry has done for few years now. I believe that we will do it even more moving forward as technology starts to advance,” he said.
On September 5, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced that local operators would fork out half of the estimated RM21.6 billion capital expenditure needed to extend the broadband coverage nationwide under NFCP.
MCMC chairman Al-Ishal Ishak said the other half of the cost to provide an average of 30 megabits per second (Mbps) in 98 per cent of populated areas in the next four years would be funded by Universal Service Provision (USP) fund.
The USP fund, regulated and managed by MCMC, is an annual collection of six per cent from telco’s top line to extend broadband coverage to underserved areas.
As of 2017, the USP fund had about RM8 billion to RM9 billion, with about RM4 billion to RM5 billion committed to the NFCP.