Smart Axiata Cambodia Tests 5G With Huawei

5G is slowly making its way to Southeast Asia

First the Philippines and now Cambodia, it looks like South East Asia is gearing up and ready to bring in 5G. Interestingly enough, it's Smart Axiata - part of Malaysia's Axiata Group Berhad - who is leading the 5G trials in Cambodia, together with China's Huawei Technologies.

Smart Axiata serves half of the 16-million population of Cambodia, whose government signed a memorandum of understanding in April with Huawei to help develop its 5G telecoms system. The trials have started since Monday, which could see 5G roll out this year in Cambodia though Smart Axiata's chief executive Thomas Hundt has some reserves.

"I very much hope that this year in 2019, we can bring 5G to commercial operation but ... it's not entirely on us, we are ready, we could start in a couple of weeks from a technique standpoint, no problem but we need obviously [a licence from] the head of the government," he said.

He also added that "It will not be a nationwide coverage from day one, it will be hot spot first, it will be an urban areas first and then we will gradually expand."

Mr Hundt said Smart Axiata will probably invest hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years in 5G mobile networks and it will need the government's approval before launching commercially.