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U Mobile to trial network sharing with TM to accelerate 5G rollout

Telekom Malaysia and U Mobile have jointly announced a collaboration to explore network sharing on TM’s 5G network in Langkawi. This is the second network sharing collaboration with TM after last week’s announcement with Digi.

With this partnership, both parties will explore multiple network infrastructure sharing models such as Multi-Operator Core Node (MOCN) or Multi-Operator Radio Access Network (MORAN). This will enable a cost-effective and efficient rollout to provide wide 5G coverage in Malaysia ahead of full-scale development.

With a MOCN setup, multiple operators can share a site, spectrum, backhaul and radio controllers, while maintaining its own independent core network. On the MORAN network sharing model, everything is shared except for the core network and spectrum.

According to TM’s Group CEO Dato’ Noor Kamarul Annuar Nuruddin, the company has been a strong advocate of infrastructure sharing. He added that as the industry gears up for the next wave of infrastructure investments to support innovative 5G use cases, telcos are eyeing new ways to accelerate deployment. Network sharing will allow greater savings in capital and operating expenditure, which will enable telcos to extend coverage at a lower cost and achieve faster rollout while using resources optimally. He also said that infrastructure sharing will also help to address concerns with the visual impact of small cells and network equipment to deliver 5G.

At the moment, TM has installed 8 out of a total of 26 live 5G testing sites on the island. TM has embarked on 11 use cases out of the total of 35 use cases under the 5G demonstration project on the island. Meanwhile, U Mobile has also deployed its own 5G network in Langkawi and they are also running several use cases which covers healthcare, virtual tourism, VR gaming and 5G fixed wireless access.

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U Mobile CEO, Wong Heang Tuck, has shared that the core of 5G deployment is the infrastructure and they are keen to explore network sharing opportunities as it can accelerate deployment, especially in underserved areas. With this collaboration, U Mobile hopes to achieve a win-win partnership with TM as they approach 5G commercial availability later this year.

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Alexander Wong