Axiata Group Berhad will continue to work with Huawei to develop its 5G Innovation Hub that’s based at Celcom’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya. This was shared by Axiata’s president and CEO, Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim during a press conference after its AGM.
He added that Axiata has committed RM10 million a year to develop new 5G-related solutions and applications at its innovation hub. Jamaludin also said there’s no impact with regards to Huawei in terms of supply, upgrades, or new rollouts.
As reported by TheStar, the CEO shared that he was told by Huawei that they have one year supply in terms of parts, products and equipment which can serve Axiata very well, and the telecommunications solutions provider aims to be more self-reliant despite restrictions imposed by the US government.
Axiata has also clarified they have not decided on a partner for its 5G rollout which is currently planned for 2021. Jamaludin says that this is the earliest timing at the moment and it is dependent on the government’s approval on the spectrum. He said that there will be a combination of 5G suppliers and they have Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, Huawei and potentially Samsung as their options.
Celcom which is under Axiata group is currently adopting a multi-vendor strategy. They have partnered with both Huawei and Ericsson to develop their 5G testbeds.
Touching on the proposed merger with Telenor Group, Jamaludin says that it will be a merger of equals despite the Norwegian company getting a larger stake of 56.5% in the new company. He shared that if Telenor came in with an acquisition offer and wanted to run the merged entity the way the majority owner wants it to run, Axiata will not agree to it.
Axiata is expected to firm up an agreement with Telenor in the next three to six months. Jamaludin also shared that realistically, the birth of the new company will happen sometime in Q3 2020. He also assured that there will be no forced layoffs from the potential merger. However, he doesn’t rule out potential voluntary separation schemes in certain cases.