As Malaysia prepares to roll out 5G in stages by the end of 2021, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah announced that Malaysia will launch Southeast Asia’s first 5G Cybersecurity Test Lab.
The test lab is a joint effort by national cybersecurity specialist agency, CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM), Huawei Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd.
With cybersecurity still a major concern for most organisations, the minister said the test lab will be a model for end-to-end cybersecurity. This includes covering a number of scenarios and offering services inclusive of mobile applications and hardware evaluation.
The minister made the announcement virtually at a forum hosted by Huawei in conjunction with the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai.
“It will cover a comprehensive 5G test bed ecosystem comprising technologies such as 5G radio access network (RAN), Edge network and also cloud application. The test lab will also carry test cases including Internet of Things (IoT) security, telecommunications security and look at improving readiness in responding to 5G-related cyber-attacks,” he said.
The minister added that 70% of the prime users of 5G will be for industries based on their research and findings, especially the manufacturing sector. Hence, the government is bringing the implementation of 5G almost a year earlier than initially scheduled for release.
Instead of relying on private telco companies, Malaysia will build the 5G infrastructure itself with Huawei expected to play a significant role to have the network available by year-end. The government initially consider issuing tenders for the development of the network. They now felt it was better if the main telco companies form a consortium.
While 5G is expected to boost connectivity, the minister highlighted last-mile connectivity concerns that affect those in rural areas. Interestingly, the minister said that the costs involved in covering the last mile connectivity for about 4% to 5% are seven to eight times higher due to geographical challenges and such.
Despite that, the minister was thankful to telco companies for going the extra mile in trying their best to ensure connectivity is made available to all in the country.