Malaysia still open to Chinese firms in 5G rollout, says Comms Minister

PETALING JAYA (BLOOMBERG): Malaysia will remain a free market and allow mobile-phone carriers to decide whether to work with Chinese equipment makers including Huawei Technologies Co during the rollout of the second 5G network, says Fahmi Fadzil.

"The government itself is not entering into any contractual obligations with any of these network equipment providers,” the Communications and Digital Minister said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday (June 1).

"It’s a commercial decision, and the ones who need to be convinced are the telecommunication companies, the mobile network operators,” he said from his office in Kuala Lumpur.

Still, he said the government will take into consideration concerns voiced by some Western countries over Huawei’s possible participation in the network.

The US and UK, among others, have shunned Huawei equipment and alleged it poses a national security risk due to the company’s potential links with the Chinese government - Huawei has rejected those claims as unfounded.

Malaysia plans to deploy a second 5G network from as early as January, following a months-long official review of the existing network run solely by the state-owned Digital Nasional Bhd.

The plan attracted lobbying attempts from Huawei to secure contracts, prompting the US and EU to warn Malaysia of security risks, according to the Financial Times.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s government has repeatedly said the contracts to build the second network will be awarded through an open tender process.

Fahmi said his ministry was also looking into strengthening existing laws on mobile network operators and the quality of services they provided.

The proposals may be brought to parliament by the middle of 2024, he said.

"It’s not about just coverage, it’s about how consistently you get good coverage,” he said.

The 4G network has reached almost 97% of operated areas in Malaysia, and yet no single operator on its own has achieved that coverage, Fahmi said. - Bloomberg

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Bloomberg , 5G , Fahmi Fadzil


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