Huawei gains foothold in Malaysia with early-2020 5G rollout

Huawei has partnered with not only Malaysia’s Maxis Bhd, the country’s second largest mobile network operator by subscriber, but has also signed preliminary 5G agreements with Maxis rivals such as Axiata Group Bhd’s Celcom, as an added pressure.

In a significant development, Malaysia’s Maxis Bhd stated, it has signed an agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to launch fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network in the country as and when the technology becomes available.

The Malaysian government has previously said, it aims to establish the 5G spectrum in the country as early as the first quarter of 2020.

Late on Thursday, Maxis, Malaysia’s second-largest mobile network operator by subscribers, stated it has signed a contract with Huawei for the supply of 4G and 5G radio equipment and services.

“Besides having access to 5G technologies, Maxis will be able to modernize its existing LTE network to be 5G-ready,” said Maxis. It went on to add, it will leverage existing investments for a faster introduction of 5G services.

Last week, Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo stated, the country will commence a nationwide demonstration of 5G projects later this month.

Earlier this year in February, Maxis and Huawei had signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in 5G trials.

With the news reaching the market, shares of Maxis rose by 1.5% in early trading on Friday.

Incidentally, Huawei also has preliminary 5G agreements with Maxis rivals such as Axiata Group Bhd’s Celcom.

The development comes despite growing concerns and allegations among the intelligence community that China’s Huawei is a front for Chinese intelligence and its equipment could be used for spying. Huawei has denied these charges.

Banned in the United States, the U.S. government has been lobbying other countries to not enter into contractual agreement with Huawei given national security concerns.

Malaysia has stated, it is not concerned on the spying allegations and is focused instead on the relative affordability of Huawei products.

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