KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia yesterday said it will start a nationwide demonstration of 5G projects next month, indicating it is on track to become one of the first Asian countries to launch the technology.
The government has said it wants to start rolling out the ultra-fast mobile Internet service early next year and, unlike Vietnam and some developed nations, it is not averse to letting its telecommunications companies work with China's Huawei.
Huawei, the world's largest telecoms equipment maker, was put on a United States blacklist in May after Washington said its equipment could be used for spying, a charge the company denies.
That put pressure on many other countries to follow suit. But Malaysia, a nation of 32 million people, has said it is not concerned about the spying claims, focusing instead on the relative affordability of Huawei products.
"It is hoped that Malaysia's early commitment to 5G, to rapidly deploying 5G test beds and nationwide demonstration projects, will position the country as one of the leaders of 5G adoption in the world," Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo told an industry event.
Huawei already has preliminary 5G agreements with Malaysian firms such as Axiata's Celcom, Telekom Malaysia, and Maxis.
It expects the memorandums of understanding to lead to contracts, said a Huawei official, adding: "We are ready to cooperate with our partners as Malaysia prepares to launch 5G services. Our strengths are our technology, cost and delivery."
Huawei's main competitor in 5G is Sweden's Ericsson, which together with Celcom powered the first 5G hologram call in Malaysia in April. The other major players in the sector are Finnish company Nokia and China's ZTE.