Malaysia’s 5G showcase launches in Putrajaya

Communications and Multimedia Minister, Mr. Gobind Singh is shown Celcom’s booth and how the car he was in, was autonomously driving with 5G connectivity.

For a few days in April in Putrajaya, major telcos showcased their planned 5G products and services in preparation for when the 5th generation cellular technology becomes commercial in a few years’ time.

Why have a showcase a good 2 years before commercial deployment? Was it to whet the public’s appetite for the technology and all that it can promise?

In any case, two days before the official showcase, Communications and Multimedia Minister Mr. Gobind himself came to Kompleks Perbadananan Putrajaya to test out what was on display.

Celcom demonstrates its 5G

Once again, it was the incumbent mobile telco Celcom that led the proceedings, highlighting how their new partnership with mobile equipment vendor Ericsson, was enabling new 5G-based applications like the autonomous car, and holoportation.

Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission’s chairman, Al-Ishsal Ishak himself, appeared as a hologram image to welcome visitors to the pre-launch showcase. It may be hard to tell, but he really did appear as a speaking and moving hologram.

Speaking to reporters after his “autonomous drive”, Mr. Gobind admitted he had felt safe being in the car. However he points out that the autonomous element of the demo was to highlight the kind of speeds that 5G connectivity is moving at, to be able to enable the whole exercise.

Phased implementation

During his speech to launch the showcase on 18 April, Mr. Gobind said, “The businesses are our main stakeholders and we need to continue improving the environment for the businesses to prosper. This is where the government aims to create an environment conducive for growth from ensuring ubiquitous connectivity through the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to forming the National 5G Taskforce in November 2018 to identify the potential uses for 5G, discuss impediments in adopting this new technology and provide ideas and solutions for implementation in the country.

He concluded, “I am confident, that if we make the necessary preparations to usher this transformational technology, Malaysia should be able to leverage 5G within the next 3 years – enabling the country to punch above its own weight and catapulting the national economy towards strong and sustainable growth.”

Celcom’s CEO Idham Nawawi (far right) makes a 5G video call with Ericsson’s equipment.