With Huawei’s help, 5G in Cambodia rolling out as planned

In July, Smart Axiata hosted the first 5G live trial in Cambodia. KT/Siv Channa. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Sep 12, 2019, The Khmer Times. Cambodia’s major telecommunications companies are developing its 5G network as planned with the help of Chinese firm Huawei, sources familiar with the matter told Khmer Times this week. Using Chinese technology provided by Huawei, Metfone, Cellcard and Smart Axiata are preparing their 5G networks, sources said on Tuesday, reported The Khmer Times.

Metfone, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s Viettel Group, is using Huawei’s technology for its 5G network, which was launched last week on a trial basis, a senior company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Khmer Times on Tuesday. The tests started on Sept 5, according to the source.

Metfone’s parent company Viettel Group – Vietnam’s largest mobile carrier – had previously refused to work with Huawei on its 5G network for Vietnam citing security concerns.

Viettel CEO Le Dang Dung, in a recent interview with Bloomberg, said, “We are not going to work with Huawei right now. It is a bit sensitive with Huawei and there were reports that its service is not safe.

“Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones and therefore we chose Nokia and Ericsson from Europe,” he added.

The Metfone official told Khmer Times that, “In Cambodia, we chose to work with the Chinese company based on the conditions of the local market.” He added that the decision to work with Huawei was made after the Cambodian government signed an agreement with the Chinese company to develop 5G network infrastructure in the country.

In April, China’s Huawei entered an agreement with the Cambodian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, pledging to assist the Kingdom to develop 5G infrastructure.

Apart from Metfone, Smart Axiata and Cellcard are also working with Huawei to ready their 5G networks.

Smart Axiata, part of the Malaysia-based Axiata Group, hosted Cambodia’s first 5G live trials in early July.

Speaking during the event, Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt, said the company’s mission is to enrich the lives of millions of Cambodians through world-class networks and exceptional digital experiences.

“This is why we invest $70 to $80 million every year, primarily in network infrastructure, to improve mobile broadband connectivity across the Kingdom.”

“Trust that we will continue to improve our existing 4.5G service while preparing for future technologies like 5G,” he said.

Cellcard CEO Ian Watson said his company will launch Cambodia’s first 5G networks in the last quarter of the year.

“Data is playing an ever-increasing role in people’s lives as they increase their daily usage of digital services,” he said. “We are already planning for data usage to change dramatically in the very near future as our pre5G and 5G network enables enhanced mobile broadband.”

Mr Watson said Cellcard will continue to invest in its 4G network nation-wide to enhance coverage.

Im Vutha, spokesperson at the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia, on Tuesday said that Cellcard is expected to start testing its 5G network by the end of the year.

“The 5G network trials are just a way of testing demand in the local market before launching the full service,” he said, adding that companies should continue investing in their 4G networks while preparing for 5G.

Speaking at Smart Axiata’s 5G live trials in July, Aaron Wang, CEO of Huawei Wireless Network, said the company was proud to be involved in the rapid digitalisation of Cambodia.

“Cambodia was a leader in the deployment of 4G technology in Southeast Asia, and, for 5G, I want Cambodia to be a leader again,” he said.

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