The Malaysia government selected Ericsson to build and manage the country’s national 5G network at an estimated cost of MYR11 billion ($2.6 billion) and with service expected to go live in three major cities by the end of 2021, The Star reported.

Ericsson will develop a 5G infrastructure plan covering core, radio access and transport networks, OSS/BSS and managed services, along with arranging the project’s financing, the newspaper wrote.

Asri Hamidon, chair of special purpose vehicle Digital Nasional which is overseeing the project, reportedly detailed a goal of achieving 80 per cent population coverage by 2024.

Malaysia’s government plans to offer all licensed operators equal access to the 5G network through wholesale arrangements.

The selection of a single vendor to build a nationwide network is a major shift from the practice in most countries for each mobile player to deploy its own infrastructure and comes as a major blow to other equipment suppliers, particularly Huawei, which had gained some traction in Malaysia.

In early October 2019, Maxis named the Chinese vendor as a 5G technology supplier, before Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the national infrastructure plan, which he said would enable operators to generate higher returns, and deliver better and cheaper services.

The Edge Markets wrote Ericsson president and CEO Borje Ekholm said it will work with Digital Nasional on a 5G Experience and Innovation Lab to fast track adoption of 5G use cases.