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Huawei Works to Build a Better Connected Malaysia

2017-11-08

Enabling Digital Economy and Digital Transformation in Malaysia

Digital economy has become a major driver of economic development where ICT is playing a crucial role as an enabler of infrastructure building for digital economy. All industries are confronting a challenge as well as an opportunity posed by digital transformation. Huawei, the leading global ICT solutions provider, has been working with ecosystem partners to improve the quality of the country's communications services contributing to Malaysia’s digital transformation. As a result of these efforts over the past 16 years, more Malaysians now benefit from high-quality and convenient communications services.

470,000 calls every year from Malaysia's highest peak

Earlier this year, a mountain climber from Chicago, Nick and four of his friends traveled to East Malaysia to climb the highest mountain in the country, Mount. Kinabalu. At an altitude of 4,095.2 meters, it is the 20th highest mountain in the world. During the climb, at each rest stop, Nick would take out his phone and take selfies with his friends to record the unforgettable moments of their journey.

Mt. Kinabalu, considered a sacred place in Malaysia has many folklore surrounding the mountain.

According to one legend, Kina Balu means “Chinese Widow”. Once upon a time, a local woman married a Chinese prince. One day, her husband left for China, and promised her that he will come back. From then on, she climbed the peak every day to watch the sea for his return. Her undying love and determination moved the mountain spirits. They turned her face into a stone by the peak facing the sea .So she could wait for her husband's return, forever.

Mt. Kinabalu is a UNESCO natural heritage site which attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year from around the world. According to the manager of Trek Finder Tours Wilson Chin, "The mountain has become a major tourist attraction in Malaysia attracting around 30,000 tourists every year. Climbers always call their family and friends immediately after they have noticed there is mobile phone signal at the rest house, sharing with them what they have seen along the way and letting them know they are safe."

“The base station in Laban Rata is the highest in Malaysia,” said Li Shucan, a Huawei Malaysia project manager for carrier networks. “There are no cable cars and cableways along Mt. Kinabalu, and all communication equipment have to be carried here manually from the foot of the mountain. It is a tough climb for most people to get to the 3,200-meter-high rest house. Huawei engineers have had to fight against altitude sickness and other extreme conditions in order to perform installation, testing, maintenance, and upgrading tasks.”

This is the epitome of Huawei’s commitment to customer-centric innovation and solutions. The base station here supports 470,000 phone calls and 130,000 gigabytes of data traffic annually. Each second of a phone call and every byte of data traffic carries with them the love and care from the families of climbers and rest house employees. In the past, it would have been wishful thinking to obtain news from loved ones even in a legend. By contrast, today tourists across the world can place phone calls at any time to tell their families that they are safe. This has been made possible by the base station built by Huawei - the highest telecommunications base station in the country. It is Huawei’s mission to enrich people’s lives and improve efficiency by building a better connected world.

Soon after, Nick and his friends arrive at the rest house, he shares photographs of the scenery he had taken along the way, on Facebook and Instagram. "I have taken photos so that beautiful moments can be captured – and more importantly – share with my family and friends."

The 15-hour drive and our responsibility

Outside Kuala Lumpur, many parts of the country are covered with dense thick foliage inhabited by villagers who reside in remote areas and mountains.

In order for these residents to experience the convenience of modern communications and be part of the digital transformation, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia has partnered with three major carriers to launch the T3 plan. This plan is designed to extend 3G network to communities in remote areas. As a trusted partner to the ministry, Huawei was chosen to take on this construction project. Huawei is responsible for the construction and maintenance of more than 300 base stations in remote areas across the country. The company takes immense pride in its commitment to build a Better Connected Malaysia.

The Pensiangan base station is one of the 300 base stations in these remote areas. He Guodong, another Huawei project manager and his team of engineers are responsible for maintenance and upgrading of the base station. They spend 15 hours a day working, which includes travelling back and forth by car. "I am Malaysian, but before my trip to Pensiangan, I did not know that there were remotes places that could take 7 hours to get to by car" said He Guodong. For the Huawei project manager, the 7 hour journey starts from Kota Kinabalu, without counting the 2.5-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur.

In East Malaysia, Huawei engineers always drive in two four-wheel drive pickup trucks when travelling to remote areas for maintenance and upgrade tasks on base stations like the one in Pensiangan, as there are no established roads to many of these areas. On muddy trails in the dense rainforests, tyres often get stuck, and it takes another truck to pull the vehicle out of mud. That is what the Huawei team has learnt after several trips to remote areas.

Huawei engineers travel back and forth to remote areas, spending thousands of hours to overcome difficulties to carry out installation and maintenance of base stations around the country. All these efforts are to ensure that Malaysians can enjoy ease of communications services wherever and whenever. 

Muhammad is one of the engineers maintaining base stations in remote areas. As a Malaysian, he knew what communications services meant to people in these areas: "I am very proud that I can provide my fellow Malaysians better connectivity as part of my job. There are still many villages scattered in remote areas and are almost entirely cut off from the outside world due to a lack of access, but now they are given a window to the world thanks to the rollout of wireless networks."

16 years of perseverance enables Malaysia to go digital

An old Chinese saying goes, "It is never easy to be a trailblazer". If you are doing pioneering work, you are bound to encounter immense hardships and difficulties. Since its arrival in Malaysia, Huawei has maintained this pioneering spirit to move forward and make breakthroughs in the ICT industry. Huawei has joined hands with local partners in constructing communications infrastructure, creating jobs, cultivating professionals, and contributing to local economic growth. This will eventually enable Malaysia to become a strong digital economy. 

Huawei is leading efforts involving the nation’s high-speed broadband (HSBB) project and 4G network construction. Our products and solutions serve over 80% of Malaysians through our partnerships with Telekom Malaysia, Maxis and Celcom. 

Our fruits are starting to bear – according to the Huawei 2017 Global Connectivity Index, Malaysia has moved up four spots to a ranking of 24 demonstrating that it is one of the fastest-growing countries in terms of ICT infrastructure development. Abraham Liu Kang, CEO of Huawei Malaysia shared, “This is the outcome of our continued efforts and the partnership of working hand in hand with the Malaysian government. We have managed to develop and improve the ICT infrastructure and support the Government vision of becoming a developed nation in the coming years. We take immense pride in being a partner in Malaysia’s journey of digital transformation and look forward to continue supporting the nation in their efforts to achieve their ICT goals.”