PETALING JAYA: Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) has inked an RM11bil deal with Ericsson (M) Sdn Bhd to accelerate the deployment of Malaysia’s nationwide fifth generation (5G) network and ecosystem that is projected to create 100, 000 jobs.
The 5G network will be launched by end 2021 in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya and in other parts of the country at later dates, according to DNB.
In a statement yesterday, DNB said the deal would include tower rental and fibre leasing, of which more than 60% is expected to benefit bumiputra and other Malaysian contractors over the next 10 years.
DNB added that the design and build of the 5G network will be undertaken by Ericsson.
“Ericsson has undertaken to arrange financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network.
“DNB will securitise future cashflow from its wholesale business via sukuk programmes to finance all other network operating expenditure and to repay all the vendor financing arrangements, ” said the statement.
Ericsson will undertake the design and development of the end-to-end 5G network comprising core, radio access and transport network, operation and business support systems 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.”
In the same statement, DNB chairman Datuk Asri Hamidon (pic) said the group remains on track in its efforts to bring the best, competitively-priced technology and solution to drive 5G adoption nationwide.
Highlighting DNB’s three main priorities, he said: “The first being to encourage private participation and investment both domestic and foreign, in Malaysia.
“Secondly, to eliminate and mitigate duplication of infrastructure; and thirdly, to future proof the network and support the local telecommunications industry whilst generating socio economic value.”
Asri added that the partnership model will also fast track the rollout to Sabah and Sarawak, allowing the country to advance quickly towards providing inclusive and enhanced 5G services and connectivity under the Malaysia Digital Economy or MyDigital blueprint.
“The goal is to bring about inclusive prosperity to the rakyat through 5G connectivity. We achieve this in two parts. The first is through the immediate impact on the local vendor ecosystem.”
He said this is amplified by Ericsson’s committed value-creation activities in Malaysia’s knowledge economy through varied initiatives, such as 5G-related knowledge building and technology transfers that is estimated at a value of RM4bil over the period of the contract.
“The second is to achieve significant coverage by making available 5G services in the targeted areas by end-2021 and achieving the 80% population coverage goal by 2024, ” said Asri.
“By 2022, DNB will start deploying 5G to five major cities and districts in Selangor, Penang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak and thereafter, nationwide to cover 17 cities as well as rural areas from 2023.”
DNB is a technology company mandated to accelerate Malaysia’s nationwide deployment of its 5G network and ecosystem to empower more Malaysians to adopt the digital economy.
Meanwhile, Ericsson president and chief executive officer Borje Ekholm said 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.”
Ekholm said the partnership would see Ericsson increasing its presence in the country and expand the group’s legacy of nation building, technological innovation and creation of local jobs in Malaysia.
“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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, DNB chief executive officer Ralph Marshall said the company would collaborate with mobile network operators to identify key verticals, to co-create unique, resilient and proprietary applications for consumers, enterprises 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.”
“The focus will be to serve three key service offerings, namely enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable, low latency communication and massive machine type communications, which are targeted at Malaysia’s industries such as oil and gas, ports, airports, government services, healthcare, power and utilities, manufacturing, banking and finance, education, retail and agriculture.”
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 new jobs that will be created by the network and technology rollout.