Friday, June 2, 2023

Ericsson selected as National 5G Network Vendor by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB)

Sweden-based global networking and telecommunication company, Ericsson has been selected to deploy the National fifth generation (5G) network in Malaysia by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB).


Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), a Special Purpose Vehicle wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), is regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). DNB will exclusively own, build and operate the 5G infrastructure. It will offer 5G as a wholesale network service to other Telecommunication companies.

Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Ericsson) will provide vendor financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network. Meanwhile DNB will securitise future cashflows from its wholesale business via Sukuk to finance all other network operating expenditure.

The “Design and Build” of the National 5G Network will be undertaken by Ericsson at a total cost of RM11 billion, including tower rental and fibre leasing, of which more than 60% is expected to benefit Malaysian contractors over the next 10 years. It is projected that some 100,000 new jobs will be created by the network and technology roll-out.

Ericsson will undertake the design and development of the end-to-end 5G network comprising core, radio access and transport network (RAN), operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS) 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.

5G in Malaysia will be launched by end 2021 in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Cyberjaya. By 2022, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) said it will start deploying 5G in five (5) major cities and districts in the states of Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak; and thereafter, nationwide to cover 17 cities as well as rural areas from 2023 onwards.

Dato’ Asri Hamidon, Chairman of DNB said, “DNB remains on track in its efforts to bring the best, competitively-priced technology and solution to drive 5G adoption nationwide. I thank the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for their continued support and guidance.”

He highlighted DNB’s three (3) main priorities: The first being to encourage foreign and private participation and investment in Malaysia; secondly, to eliminate and mitigate duplication of infrastructure; thirdly, to futureproof the network and support the local telecommunications industry whilst generating socioeconomic value.

This partnership model will also fast-track the roll-out to Sabah and Sarawak, allowing the country to advance quickly towards providing inclusive and enhanced 5G services and connectivity under the MyDIGITAL Blueprint.

Dato’ Asri added, “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. 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, which is estimated at a value of RM4 billion 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.”

DNB said it will collaborate with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to identify key verticals, to co-create unique, resilient, and proprietary applications for the consumer, enterprise, and government segments.

The focus will be to serve three (3) key service offerings namely Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-reliable, low latency communication (URLLC) and massive machine type communications (mMTC) – 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.

To date, Ericsson has 143 commercial 5G agreement around the world including 92 live 5G networks. Apart from DNB, Ericsson is a major 4G network vendor of Celcom Axiata. In 2017, Ericsson and Celcom showcased Malaysia’s first ever 5G trial, also the 1st 5G trial conducted using the 28GHz band in South East Asia.

Also read:

Rollout of 5G in Malaysia will now cost a total of RM26 Billion – 12th Malaysia Plan
GSMA says Digital Nasional Berhad is a 5G monopoly, highlights 8 Potential Risk

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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