KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s Maxis Bhd said it has signed an agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to launch a fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network in the Southeast Asian nation when the technology becomes available.
The Malaysian government has said it aims to establish the 5G spectrum as soon as the first quarter of 2020.
Maxis, Malaysia’s second-largest mobile network operator by subscribers, in a statement late on Thursday said Huawei will supply 4G or LTE 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,” the company said. It also said it will leverage existing investments for a faster introduction of 5G services.
Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo last week said Malaysia will start a nationwide demonstration of 5G projects this month, indicating the country was on track to become one of the first in Asia to launch the technology.
Maxis and Huawei in February signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in 5G trials.
Shares in Maxis - Malaysia’s first telecom group to launch 4G services - rose as much as 1.5% in early trade on Friday.
Huawei also has preliminary 5G agreements with Maxis rivals such as Axiata Group Bhd’s Celcom.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, was put on a U.S. blacklist in May after Washington said its equipment could be used for spying, which the company denies.
The U.S. government has been lobbying other countries to turn against Huawei. Malaysia, however, has said it is not concerned about the spying allegations and is focusing instead on the relative affordability of Huawei products.
Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing