Anwar demands transparency on RM11b 5G contract to Ericsson

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The government should explain its decision to grant Ericsson a RM11 billion contract to design and build the country’s 5G network, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Calling for the government to make public the details of the contract it awarded the Swedish telecommunications giant last week, Anwar claimed that Chinese competitor Huawei Technologies “could have done the job for RM5 billion”.

“I want to raise a few questions as there has been no information on this,” the PKR president said in a video on Facebook.

FMT

“We are worried about training and technology transfer, among other things. Also, whether the cost is reasonable.

“The cost for this will be borne by the rakyat and because of that, we want this to be questioned so that there is no chance of corruption, abuse of power and excessive payment of commissions.”

On July 1, Digital Nasional Bhd, the government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) tasked with the country’s 5G rollout, said it had appointed Ericsson unit, Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, to handle the design and development of the country’s end-to-end 5G network.

“Ericsson has undertaken to arrange financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network,” Digital Nasional added.

According to the company, the appointment concluded a tender exercise that started in March and reportedly attracted eight bids. Besides Ericsson, the other companies which bid for the project were Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, ZTE, NEC, Cisco and Fiberhome.

Digital Nasional said that the RM11 billion cost of the 5G infrastructure development was lower than the original budgeted cost of RM15 billion.

It added that the 5G network will be launched by the end of the year in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Cyberjaya, with major cities and districts in Selangor, Penang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak to follow suit next year. – FMT