Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Whoever helms Axiata next may hasten Malaysia’s long-delayed 5G takeoff

OR STALL THE PROCESS FURTHER ….

KL, 7 June:  A few names are being bandied about to replace Izzaddin Idris, who stepped down end last month - suddenly or otherwise, depending on who you talk to -  as the president and group CEO of Axiata Group in the midst of a mind-boggling opposition against a government-initiated scheme to roll out 5G. Mind boggling because Axiata, which owns Celcom and Tune Talk, is effectively linked to the Malaysian government itself.

One of the contenders to replace the seasoned Izzadin, I was told, is Shazalli Ramli, a name all too familiar with the industry. Shazalli is credited for making Celcom a trendy regional telco powerhouse. He also  made that famous comeback to the government-linked corporate world late in 2020 - expectedly or otherwise, again depending on who you’d want to believe  - after the fall of the vindictive Pakatan Harapan government. Shazalli is currently chief of Boustead, which has just announced a seven-fold increase in first quarter profits the other day.

Mohd Idham Nawawi, the current CEO of Celcom, is also being considered for the post, if you believe the gossips. Idham cut his teeth in Axiata and would be seen as a natural replacement. He was made Celcom chief in 2018, before Izzaddin came into the picture.

Industry observers generally think either man will augur well for the Government’s plans to roll out 5G through its single wholesale network enabler DNB, an MOF company. The nation has lagged far behind its own original plans on 5G due to unexpected (or no) opposition to the government’s 5G plans by its own telco GLCs. 

For the recored, Ralph Marshall, the man who helms DNB, had played a big role in the rollout of Maxis, the traditional rivals of Celcom. And Izzaddin’s departure last month, some said, had something to do with the opposition by the telcos against DNB. Wallahualam. 


 

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