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Maxis and Huawei team up on 5G as Malaysia outlines spectrum allocation plan

Maxis's partnership with Huawei to develop 5G use cases and services comes on the heels of Malaysia's recently announced spectrum allocation plan

Malaysian telco Maxis has teamed up with Huawei to develop 5G use cases and services in a programme aimed at spurring 5G adoption in Malaysia.

Dubbed TechCity, the programme will also bring the companies together to improve the design of 5G networks, as well as deployment and operating efficiencies. A new innovation lab is also on the cards to identify industry-specific 5G applications when new 5G spectrum is available.

The 5G services and innovation spun out of the programme will be jointly branded by the two firms, with Huawei providing Maxis with “privileged access” to latest developments in 5G use cases. Besides Malaysia, Huawei has tied up with telcos in the UK, South Korea and Japan through similar partnerships.

“By working on the TechCity initiative together, we will be able to successfully create 5G solutions based on local demand and replicate them in global markets in the future,” said Guo Ping, Huawei’s rotating chairman. “Huawei will support Malaysia in transforming from a technology adopter to a leader in 5G innovation and ecosystem development.”

Maxis CEO Gokhan Ogut said working with Huawei will enable Maxis to explore new technology while improving user experience and network efficiency.

“Maxis has always been at the forefront of new technologies and we are excited about our involvement in this programme, which we believe will unleash many opportunities that will benefit customers in the future,” he added.

The TechCity initiative follows an earlier agreement between Maxis and Huawei to deploy a 5G network across Malaysia, where the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26/28GHz spectrum bands will be allocated for 5G services.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said on 1 January 2020 that the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands will be allocated to a consortium comprising multiple licensees, instead of individual licensees, through a tender process otherwise known as a “beauty contest”. This will help to reduce deployment costs for telcos and avoid having duplicate infrastructure.

Read more about 5G in Malaysia

The assignment of the 26/28GHz millimetre wave bands will be conducted via two methods, however. The 24.9GHz to 26.5GHz frequency bands will be assigned through a tender process to licensees on a nationwide basis, whereas the 26.5GHz to 28.1GHz frequency bands will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be open to any party (including non-licensees) for the purpose of deploying localised or private 5G networks.

Once the spectrum assignment processes are completed, the MCMC expects commercial deployment of 5G in Malaysia to begin by the third quarter of 2020.

This is consistent with the deliberations of Malaysia’s national 5G task force, which was established in November 2018. The group comprises 114 organisations from the private sector, ministries and agencies, representing the demand and supply side in the 5G ecosystem.

The existing spectrum allocation for deployment of current 4G technology will be maintained. This includes maintaining the existing allocation of the 2,300MHz and 2,600MHz bands until December 2021. The MCMC will undertake the necessary review of these bands in 2021. 

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