Deal lays foundations for Malaysian operator’s 5G network

Celcom Axiata this week tapped Ericsson to upgrade and expand its LTE network, striking a deal that lays the foundations for the operator’s 5G network.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply new radio access network (RAN) equipment to help Celcom meet growing demand for mobile data. The products in question come with the hardware and software necessary for a smoother transition to 5G.

"We have been at the forefront of providing our customers with the best data experience, and remain committed to to evolve our network with the latest technologies," said Celcom Axiata CEO Mohamad Idham Nawawi, in a statement on Monday. "This partnership is strategic as it will not only help us further expand our LTE footprint but create the base for the launch of 5G services."

Indeed, the RAN gear that Ericsson will supply to Celcom can be upgraded to support 5G New Radio (NR) and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) via an over-the-air software update.

"We have been a long-term partner of Celcom and are pleased to support them in expanding and upgrading their LTE network across Malaysia. It will enable the delivery of enhanced customer experiences for millions of Malaysians while getting their network ready for the evolution to 5G," said Todd Ashton, head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.