DNB on track to launch Malaysia’s 5G network by end of 2021

KUCHING: Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) announced its partnership with Ericsson () Sdn Bhd (Ericsson) to accelerate the deployment of Malaysia's nationwide fifth generation () network and ecosystem.

This concludes the rigorous tender exercise initiated in March.

As one of the four pillars identified under Malaysia's digital transformation plan MyDIGITAL, the 5G network will serve as the nation's connectivity backbone and will be the springboard towards achieving the vision of a connected future and regional leader in the digital economy.

In addition, it is expected to be a catalyst for significantly greater investment in related products and services to support the projected 100,000 new jobs that will be created by the network and technology roll-out.

DNB has adopted an approach where the Design and Build of the National 5G Network will be undertaken by Ericsson at a total cost of RM11 billion, including tower rental and fibre leasing, of which more than 60 per cent is expected to benefit Bumiputera and other Malaysian contractors over the next 10 years.

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

Ericsson will undertake 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. This is in addition to developing use cases to accelerate industry participation.

DNB chairman Datuk Asri Hamidon said, “DNB remains on track in its efforts to bring the best, competitively-priced technology and solution to drive 5G adoption nationwide. I thank the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for their continued support and guidance.”

This partnership model will also fast-track the roll-out to Sabah and Sarawak, allowing the country to advance quickly towards providing inclusive and enhanced 5G services and connectivity under the MyDIGITAL Blueprint.

Ericsson president and chief executive officer Borje Ekholm said, “Ericsson is delighted to partner with DNB to deploy 5G for Malaysia. The faster connectivity speeds, ultra-low latency, and greater bandwidth of 5G for mobile broadband will empower Malaysia to quickly close the digital divide.

“As a platform for innovation, 5G will also enable Malaysian entrepreneurs to create future applications for the benefit of consumers and businesses in the country. To this end, we will collaborate with DNB on a 5G Experience and Innovation Lab, to fast track the adoption of 5G use cases.

Ericsson brings to this partnership our leading 5G solutions and global experience in deploying 86 live 5G networks, as well as strong market knowledge – having been part of shaping the information and communication technology industry in Malaysia since 1965.

“This partnership will see us increase our presence in the country and expand our legacy of nation building, technological innovation, and creation of local jobs in Malaysia. Together, Ericsson and DNB will provide a secure and resilient 5G infrastructure to accelerate Malaysia's journey to achieve its digital economy ambition outlined in the MyDIGITAL Blueprint.”

Ralph Marshall, chief executive officer of DNB said, “DNB is aligned to global industry best practices which allows for better risk and performance management. In addition to the technical and commercial proposals, long-term socioeconomic commitment was a key dimension in the evaluation process. Viability of this approach is key to the execution of our 5G nationwide network rollout.

“DNB will collaborate with the MNOs to identify key verticals, to co-create unique, resilient, and proprietary applications for the consumer, enterprise, and government segments.

“At the same time, we will provide infrastructure and technology services to support and enable businesses as well as government capabilities, open new opportunities, and most importantly, meet changing customer needs.”

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