Telecommunication companies must be ready to embrace the fifth generation mobile network (5G) as it is expected to be used widely in Malaysia by 2022-2023.
Ericsson (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd President Todd Ashton, however, said the use of 5G in the country could be implemented less than five years if the groundwork is done now.
"The spectrum for 5G will be agreed globally in 2019 and the whole industry will need to create products once it has been agreed upon," said Ashton, who is also the company president for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, at a press conference here Friday.
The South Korean Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place from Feb 9-25, 2018 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, is one venue where the benchmark 5G would be tested.
However, Ashton said that it would take some years before the 5G becomes a mainstream in Malaysia as the infrastructure would need time to be put in place.
Ericsson has been collaborating with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia since 2016 and Celcom Axiata Bhd, from last year, to conduct ground studies on the implementation of 5G.
"The studies conducted so far include the propagation of radio in tropical climate, the millimetre wave and spectrum that will be used for 5G and how 5G will work in Malaysia," he said.
Meanwhile, Ericsson also announced the extension of its partnership, originally signed in 2012, with U-Mobile Sdn Bhd for five years to 2022.
The renewed partnership would focus on delivering technology and innovation, upgrading its services and forming new packages for U Mobile's customers.
At present, Ericsson handled over five million prepaid and postpaid subscribers in managing the business support system for U Mobile.
"With this partnership, we will also continue to support U-Mobile's billing system," he said.
Meanwhile, U-Mobile Chief Executive Officer Wong Heang Tuck said that the company's e-wallet service was awaiting Bank Negara Malaysia approval.
"We expect to get the approval soon and hope to launch the e-wallet service by this year," he said.
E-wallet refers to an electronic device that allows an individual to make electronic transactions while purchasing items online or by using a smartphone to purchase products at a store.