Malaysian wholesale 5G operator Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), incumbent telco Telekom Malaysia (TM) and ZTE said on Tuesday they have banded together to conduct a trial of millimetre-wave 5G that promises downlink speeds of up to 28 Gbps.
The strategic project – billed as “the world’s fastest 5G live trial” – aims to establish Malaysia's first standalone (SA) 5G core, complemented by an adaptable next generation transport network. The mmWave 5G SA trial will leverage DNB’s mmWave spectrum, TM’s network infrastructure and ZTE’s latest mmWave active antenna unit and chipset technology.
DNB, TM and ZTE said that apart from faster data speeds, mmWave 5G SA will deliver better productivity and operational efficiency, which in turn will improve customer satisfaction and generate higher demand for 5G across all sectors. The technology could also beef up fixed wireless access (FWA) connections to better support video streaming, online gaming, and virtual and augmented reality applications.
DNB’s CTO Ken Tan Tzi Kieng said the use of mmWave spectrum in the company’s 5G wholesale network will deliver “a 5.5G experience” and serve as a launchpad for 6G down the road.
“The combination of our spectrum with TM’s SA core opens up exciting possibilities in the enterprise space, especially in the deployment of 5G private networks,” he said.
DNB currently uses the 3.5-GHz band for 5G services, but has also been allocated the 700-MHz and 26/28-GHz bands for 5G usage. While DNB is on track to achieve its target of 80% 5G coverage in populated areas by the end of this year, Malaysia’s 5G adoption rate was just 4.2% as of last month.
The Ministry of Communications and Digital plans to licence a second 5G operator to compete with DNB early next year.