Digital Nasional Awards Ericsson RM11 Billion 5G Network Contract

Ericsson HQ Signage Architect: Wingårdhs

Digital Nasional Berhad has announced that it has selected Ericsson Malaysia for the deployment of Malaysia’s nationwide fifth generation (5G) network, the selection was made after a tender process which began in March.

DNB which was formed under the Ministry of Finance, will be working with the Swedish telecommunication company on the roll-out, where for the first time a network deployment will be undertaken by the government. Under the 4 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 100,000 new jobs that will be created by the network and technology roll-out.

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 Bumiputera and other Malaysian contractors over the next 10 years. Ericsson on the other hand has undertaken to arrange financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network. DNB will securitise future cashflows from its wholesale business via Sukuk programmes to finance all other network operating expenditure and to repay all the vendor financing arrangements.

As this will be a long term execution, 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.

Dato’ Asri Hamidon, Chairman of DNB highlighted DNB’s three (3) main priorities: The first being to encourage private participation and investment – both domestic and foreign – 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.

The value-creation activities commited by Ericsson through varied initiatives such as, 5G-related knowledge building and technology transfers, is estimated at a value of RM4 billion over the period of the contract. On coverage, its highlighted that the target is to have 5G coverage services in the selected areas by end 2021, and achieving the 80% population coverage goal by 2024.

5G will be launched by end 2021 in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Cyberjaya. By 2022, DNB will start deploying 5G to 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.

Ralph Marshall who leads DNB will be bringing the network operators together to identify key verticals, to co-create relevant solutions for consumer, enterprise, and government segments with the aim to enable businesses as well as government to attain new opportunities.

The focus will be to serve three 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.

Priority will also be on security, both parties will place importance to safeguard users and platforms through enhanced security features.

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