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Asia

Malaysia highlights Huawei's role in 5G rollout

Malaysia's government provided more details on its plan for a state-owned 5G wholesale network that will include the involvement of the much-maligned China-based vendor Huawei Technologies.

According to Bloomberg, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdulla said at a group meeting this week that the aim is to get the network available by end-2021.

"We want to be among the first Asean member states to roll out 5G deployment and not just limit ourselves to 5G test labs," Saifuddin reportedly said.

"It is very important for investment, and this is where companies like Huawei will play a very, very significant role."

Saifuddin has been adding more meat to the bones of the announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last week that 15 billion Malaysian Ringgits (US$3.87 billion) would be invested over ten years to roll out a state-owned wholesale network.

In a speech unveiling the government's digital economy blueprint, Muhyiddin said the government would establish a "special purpose vehicle" that would hold 5G spectrum and would "own, implement and manage the 5G infrastructure."

Saifuddin has now confirmed that the Government of Malaysia Special Purpose Vehicle (GOMSPV) will be the entity responsible for rolling out the network. He said GOMSPV will provide transparent wholesale services to service providers, and added that there will not be any transfer of ownership for the next ten years.

"This single entity will manage the transition to 5G network which would reduce duplication of networks. As we push communications as the third public utility, companies can focus on providing better internet services for customers," he said.

No ban here

Saifuddin also unveiled plans to establish "Southeast Asia's first 5G Cybersecurity Lab" through CyberSecurity Malaysia, in partnership with Celcom Axiata and Huawei.

"The test lab will be a model of end-to-end cybersecurity, 5G testbed ecosystem, and also carry test cases including IoT security, telecommunications security, as well as improving readiness in responding to 5G related cyberattacks," Saifuddin said via social media.


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.


Malaysia is one of a number of markets in Southeast Asia that has signaled it will continue to use Huawei equipment, despite opposition to the vendor in western markets. Following a chaotic licensing process, three operators are set to go with the China-based vendor.

Maxis clinched the deal in October 2019, Celcom has signed an MoU for a smart city project and U Mobile has issued a letter of intent. Telekom Malaysia is also collaborating with Huawei on 5G interoperability tests.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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