Malaysia picks Ericsson for RM11bil project to deploy 5G nationwide 


KUALA LUMPUR: Digital Nasional Bhd has picked Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd as its partner for the deployment of Malaysia’s nationwide fifth generation (5G) network and ecosystem.

The appointment concludes a rigorous tender exercise initiated in March, government owned DNB said in a statement today.
 Under the deal, Ericsson will design and build the national 5G network at a total cost of RM11bil.

This includes tower rental and fibre leasing, of which more than 60% is expected to benefit Bumiputera and other Malaysian contractors over the next 10 years, DNB said.

“Ericsson has undertaken to arrange financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network,” DNB said.

“DNB will securitise future cashflows from its wholesale business via Sukuk programmes to finance all other network operating expenditure and to repay all the vendor financing arrangements,” it added.

The scope of the project includes the design and development of the end-to-end 5G network comprising core, radio access and transport network (RAN), operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS) and managed services.

“Ericsson will also undertake capacity building and innovation programmes to support local vendor development and participation, as well as to boost 5G adoption amongst the public,” DNB said.

DNB’s chairman Datuk Asri Hamidon said the goal of the project was to bring about inclusive prosperity to the Rakyat through 5G connectivity.

“We achieve this in two parts: the first is through the immediate impact on the local vendor ecosystem. This is amplified by Ericsson’s committed value-creation activities in Malaysia’s knowledge economy through varied initiatives such as, 5G-related knowledge building and technology transfers, which is estimated at a value of RM4bil over the period of the contract,” he said.

“The second is to achieve significant coverage by making available 5G services in the targeted areas by end 2021, and achieving the 80% population coverage goal by 2024,” he added.

5G will be launched by end 2021 in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Cyberjaya.

By 2022, DNB will start deploying 5G to five major cities and districts in the states of Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak; and thereafter, nationwide to cover 17 cities as well as rural areas from 2023 onwards.

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