Digi: Accelerating 5G in Malaysia

Release Date:2020-03-24  Author:Reporter: Gobinath Maniam  Click:

Digi, a mobile service provider in Malaysia, is exploring 5G innovations in a bid to make 5G a reality in the country and elevate the country's economy. Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin, Digi's Head of Strategy & Architecture, and Cham Yin Gee, Head of Network Strategy, talked about the 5G demonstration projects undertaken by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and their partnership with ZTE in 5G as well. 


Can you explain the partnership between Digi and ZTE? 

Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin:
We started the partnership with ZTE in 2011 when we performed network modernization, covering the radio, the core network and the backbone network. For the radio, we covered 2G, 3G, and 4G. As part of the partnership, we always explore what else is there. We have evolved into 4G plus, voice over LTE and IoT, and now we are moving towards 5G as well. 
Cham Yin Gee: Part of the 5G demonstration project, which is an initiative by the government, is to drive and accelerate 5G adoption in Malaysia. Digi has partnered with ZTE to demonstrate 5G projects around Malaysia, which includes areas in Klang Valley and the northern part of Malaysia. In addition, this has been witnessed by thousands of Malaysians and comes from collaboration with industries as well. 

What do both organizations aim to achieve with this partnership? 

Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin: We at Digi and ZTE would love to achieve a better understanding of 5G—how it works and what it will provide as a benefit to our consumers, businesses, and also other parties. We are always interested in knowing and understanding any new technologies in terms of the setup and in terms of the contributions. 
Cham Yin Gee: It is also important to use the partnership to understand what sorts of use cases that 5G will potentially be able to create an opportunity on and to see different verticals and industries that will benefit from it. That is something we will be able to demonstrate through the 5G demonstration project. 

Can you share some of the achievements that you feel you have achieved with this 5G partnership? 

Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin: As part of our exploration with 5G, we have gone on a long journey in terms of learning the 5G technical aspects, together with our partners in ZTE. We have achieved three major milestones. The first one is the 5G official kickoff. We have come out with a showcase. 
The second one is coming up with the 5G OpenLab where we have put up a system in OpenLab that is available for others to come in and experience so that they can use and come up with new use cases. 
The last one is the latest one in November. 
Cham Yin Gee: We completed an official launch at Langkawi Island. Basically, it is an extension of what we have done at Cyberjaya. That is to bring more marketable use cases into Langkawi Island. We highlighted what we can do with 5G. We demonstrated a couple of projects, one of which is 5G virtual tourism. We worked together with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), Lembaga Pembangunan Langkawi (LADA) as well as SkyCab to bring virtual tourism to another level through the low latency, high speed capability of 5G. On the other hand, we did another use case with the Ministry of Health at Hospital Sultanah Maliha. We connected the doctors as well as the patients in the ambulances to the specialists in the hospital to ensure that the innovations of technology can be brought into the hospital for them to shorten the time and save lives. 
Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin:

For us in Digi, we always make sure that anything we do is able to contribute to society and make it much better for our consumers and businesses. We see 5G as the next step. The World Bank report says that an additional 10 percent increase in fixed broadband penetration allows for a 1.38 percent increase in GDP. Moreover, for Malaysia, we think that the sectors that are contributing 58 percent of the GDP are able to grow with the 5G we have. 5G is going to enrich people's lives and contribute more towards the industries and businesses as well. 


Why do you think that 5G is important for the country's progress? 

Mohamad Kamal bin Noordin: 
We see that 5G is going to be an economic driver for the country, improving the quality of life, and improving the industry, SMEs, and the government sector. 
Cham Yin Gee: We also believe that 5G is a catalyst meeting the ambitions of Industry 4.0 because 5G promises a high speed, reliable and secure connection that will meet the demands of the industry revolution.

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