ERICSSON feels it has a good chance of being part of the TELEKOM MALAYSIA BHD 3G rollout, given its competence in the telecommunications industry globally and its commitment in Malaysia, said its president for South-East Asia, Mats H. Olsson.
This confidence also stems from the fact that the Swedish giant has thus far been involved in the 3G network rollout in 13 countries, and is already involved in providing a trial 3G system for Telekom at Cyberjaya.
“I hope we have a good chance, but we do not take anything for granted. We work hard. It also depends on how many vendors Telekom wants to appoint.
“It is not realistic that they would choose many vendors, as many as for their trials,’’ Olsson told StarBiz during the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes.
Telekom had in early February rolled out services on 3G-based platform in selected areas within the Klang Valley using five vendors’ networks.
Last June five vendors, including Ericsson, began pilot trials for Telekom to enable the latter to eventually decide which vendor would provide its core network for the 3G implementation.
Telekom will by the third quarter of this year decide on the award of contracts for its 3G nationwide rollout. It is unclear how many vendors it would choose, but senior officials from Telekom have hinted that it would not be more than two.
Globally, the maximum any operator has chosen is two. In the case of Maxis Communications Bhd, the other spectrum assignee in the country, it awarded a contract for an undisclosed amount to Ericsson late last year for the upgrade of its existing 2G network and deployment of 3G in some areas.
Asked on the progress of deployment of 3G for Maxis, Olsson said: “We are in the phase of interoperability testing.’’
Maxis will be rolling out services on a 3G platform by year-end.
Meanwhile, Maxis chief operating officer Edward Ying said on Saturday that the first trial would be in 30 to 45 days, when 20 nodes would be made available in the Klang Valley.
He said that by year’s end, Maxis would have 300 nodes in the country to offer 3G-based services.
With 3G, mobile users will be able to get video calls and video streaming.
Olsson reckoned that the early adopters of 3G-based services in Malaysia to be youths and businessmen and the content that would be high in demand would be news, sports, games, music and select television programmes.
“It is a new technology, and if you have been travelling and have missed a soccer game, you would be able to watch it with 3G technology. The resolution on the mobile screen is much better than that on TV.
“But I believe the take-up rate for the mass market will be slow. In Singapore and Malaysia, there will be hundreds of thousands of 3G users by the end of the year and these will be the two markets in South-East Asia to drive 3G. The rest will follow by 2006 and into 2007,’’ Olsson said.
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