M’sia accepts Huawei through Maxis’ 5G rollout

The country has shown support to Huawei, with the PM saying he is unperturbed with the assertions thrown at the Chinese tech giant

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

MAXIS Bhd yesterday signed a long-term agreement with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for the provision of 5G network in the country.

The country’s largest telecommunication provider based on market capitalisation said the deal with China-based Huawei will allow Maxis to be the first to offer 5G services when spectrum is made available.

Nationwide trials on 5G network are ongoing, with the first rollout of the ultra-fast mobile Internet service expected in the second half of next year.

The deal, witnessed by Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, also showed a vote of confidence for Huawei which has been shunned by several countries including the US over allegations of espionage.

Malaysia has so far showed support to the embattled Chinese tech giant, with Dr Mahathir saying he is unperturbed with the assertions thrown at Huawei.

Maxis CEO Gokhan Ogut said the company’s commitment towards Huawei is in line with the federal administration’s stance on the Chinese firm.

“This is an open declaration that we will be doing this with Huawei with the blessing of the government based on the current position of the country,” Ogut told reporters at a press conference in Putrajaya.

The deal covers the supply of 4G/LTE, and 5G radio equipment and services by Huawei, which will help modernise its existing LTE network to be 5G ready.

In February, Maxis and Huawei signed a memorandum to cooperate on full-fledged 5G trials. Following this, Maxis commenced the first live 5G trials in the country, recording close to 3Gbps download speeds. 5G has potential speeds reaching 10Gbps.

Ogut expects 5G Maxis products to be offered immediately once the spectrum is up, but did not provide further details.

“We have not decided on the 5G pricing yet. We still need the trials. We are still in the process of evaluating the technology, the costs associated with it and the demand for it, which we will be testing out.

“But what I can say is that Maxis’ pricing strategy will not change — 5G will fit into that. We (will continue) to provide our customers with a wide range of services and prices from Maxis’ One Plan to the Hotlink Red,” Ogut said.

In a statement, Dr Mahathir said the collaboration between global players and local vendors is important to support a thriving technology ecosystem in Malaysia.

“The impact of advanced technologies on our progress as a nation is inevitable, and we cannot afford to be left behind especially with Industrial Revolution 4.0 already upon us.

“There is no doubt that 5G will be a key driver to connecting everyone in Malaysia, and transforming key industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare so that we can remain globally competitive.

“I am pleased to see Maxis and Huawei taking advantage of this environment and supporting the growth of Malaysia’s digital economy,” he said.

Also present at the event were Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Eddin Syazlee Shith, Maxis chairman Raja Tan Sri Arshad Raja Tun Uda, Huawei president of carrier business group Ryan Ding and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak.

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