The Malaysian government’s 5G wholesale network operator Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) has picked Swedish telco equipment vendor Ericsson to underpin its national network rollout.
The 10-year partnership deal struck between DNB and Ericsson sees the latter play a key role in helping to make DNB’s stated target of bringing 5G coverage to 80 per cent of the country’s population by 2024 a reality.
DNB aims to launch Malaysia's first 5G network in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya in the initial phase of the rollout.
The government-owned 5G wholesaler’s exclusive partnership with Ericsson spans the delivery of energy-efficient Ericsson Radio System products and solutions, including the Ericsson Spectrum Sharing software for wide area 5G coverage. The scope also includes cloud-native 5G Core and 5G Radio Access (RAN) nationwide.
Additionally, Ericsson will manage the specific requirements of a single wholesale network with its managed services offering, Ericsson Operations Engine. It is hoped the solution will enhance the performance of DNB's network using artificial intelligence (AI), automation and cognitive software to predict and prevent issues.
Moreover, Ericsson's end-to-end scope also includes operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) solutions.
“5G is a platform for open innovation and is becoming the cornerstone upon which a country's competitiveness is built,” said David Hägerbro, head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. “Malaysia and DNB's commitment to accelerating the deployment of 5G is to be congratulated, as it will speed up the adoption of 5G nationally, bridge the digital divide and transform the nation.
“5G will help to facilitate the government's ambition to promote Malaysians to become technology creators through development of 5G applications and use cases.
"With a 56-year legacy of contributing to Malaysia's development, we are excited to be extending our commitment to the nation. Ericsson is confident that with our global 5G leadership and strong deployment capabilities, we will meet the deployment targets set by DNB,” he added.
It is hoped that Ericsson's participation in the national 5G project will result in direct and indirect socio-economic contributions in areas such as job creation, partnership with Malay and other local contractors and ecosystem players, as well as knowledge and capacity building in Malaysia.
“DNB is committed to delivering the best technology and innovation opportunities for Malaysians, businesses and government to ensure that Malaysia takes its place at the forefront of the global digital economy,” said Ralph Marshall, DNB CEO. “We identified Ericsson to offer the best next generation 5G technology and professional services available to suit DNB's specific and unique requirements.”
DNB, which is wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia, was mandated to be the single neutral party to undertake the deployment of 5G network infrastructure nationwide. It is licensed under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to provide wholesale 5G coverage and capacity to other licensees under the Act.
As such, DNB is tasked with helping Malaysia to achieve its digital aspirations as outlined in the government's MyDIGITAL blueprint, which aims to transform Malaysia into a digitally driven, high income nation and a leader in digital content, cyber security and the digital economy in the Southeast Asia region.
By utilising the capabilities of 5G and accelerating the deployment of Malaysia's nationwide 5G network and ecosystem, DNB will work to provide access and services to mobile service providers and others licensed by regulators.
DNB also supports the modernisation of the nation's mobile networks as part of the national digital infrastructure plan, Jalinan Digital Negara (Jendela), to ensure all Malaysians have quality internet connectivity.
The deal comes after a series of deals struck in the regional market by fellow Scandinavian telco equipment maker Nokia.
In May, for example, Malaysian telecommunications service provider Allo Technology partnered with Nokia for the deployment of a gigabit fibre network to be rolled out in the states of Melaka, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and the East Coast region of Malaysia.
Also in May, Nokia revealed it was rolling out its Digital Operations software, cloud infrastructure software and AirFrame servers as part of its efforts to upgrade the nationwide network of Philippines telco PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications.
In June, Singapore based IT solutions integrator and communications specialist Beaqon partnered with Nokia to augment and upgrade Changi Airport’s networking technology stack.