A leading telecom operator of Malaysia, Axiata Group Bhd (Axiata) has decided to select two tech equipment suppliers for its new 5G services and the company would be inviting several other firms besides the dominant player, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. (Huawei) for the new venture. The telecom company is considering to include other tech companies such as Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia, and China’s ZTE in a tender that would eventually decide the two suppliers.
China-based world’s top telecoms equipment maker, Huawei has been supplying equipment for Axiata and both companies have already agreed on a preliminary agreement to work together on deploying Malaysia’s fifth-generation (5G) technology services later this year. Nonetheless, Axiata, which is prepared to spend at least $1 billion over as many as five years on the cutting edge technology at home, declared that it has not yet signed any other 5G agreement.
Referring to Huawei and Ericsson as the two front-runner companies for the 5G tender, Axiata Chief Executive Jamaludin Ibrahim told Reuters on Saturday, “Generally we like to have two vendors, and in Malaysia, generally it would be these two.”
Jamaludin said Axiata could spend at least $1 billion on 5G in Malaysia over the next three to five years and has been in talks with major companies to jointly deploy the services with one or two partners to cut costs, without explaining the nature of the selection or naming of the parties likely to involve in the new venture.
Challenges to Hauwei’s 5G Service
Over the issues concerning national security, the Chinese giant Huawei was blacklisted by the United States (US) through imposing tougher rules for export from the US-based across the globe to the Chinese tech company. The US, under the Trump administration, accused that Huawei’s equipment was being used to spy on customers, however, the charge was denied by the company.
Citing that the Malaysian government has been in talks with Huawei representatives regarding the security-related matters, Jamaludin said that Axiata would expect to secure supplies from Huawei despite the US Commerce Department this month issued an order that the country’s authority to require licenses for sales to Huawei of semiconductors made abroad with US technology.
Jamaludin added, “You can’t be very sure, but what assurance we have been getting from Huawei, we are confident,” emphasizing that “We have (also) been assured many times that despite all the relationship with some countries they will survive and they will be able to supply us, there will be continuity.”
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