Malaysia’s telecoms regulator raised a number of competition concerns related to a planned merger of Celcom Axiata and Digi, with the broad nature of the issues highlighted likely to halt or delay the expected conclusion of the deal in Q2.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) advised the operators they to need to collectively address retail and wholesale areas it underscored as requiring remedial action.

It highlighted the retail market for mobile and fixed broadband data services; mobile voice and text messaging; and the wholesale market for voice, messaging and mobile broadband services, including network sharing arrangements.

MCMC’s preliminary findings are part of a merger assessment process begun in November 2021 designed to give the operators an opportunity to comment on the agency’s concerns and is not a final decision.

The companies have 30 days to response to MCMC’s statement of issues.

If cleared, the merged business would have 19.1 million mobile connections as of Q1 2022, data from GSMA Intelligence showed. Market leader Maxis ended the quarter with 12 million.

Axiata Group and Telenor Group agreed the merger in June 2021.