UPDATE 1-Malaysia appoints Ericsson as 5G development partner

(Adds details from statement, background)

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Reuters) - Malaysia on Thursday said it has appointed Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson as its partner to develop its 5G network and ecosystem.

Under the deal, Ericsson will be responsible for end-to-end development of the network in Malaysia at a total cost of 11 billion ringgit ($2.65 billion), state owned Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) - which is responsible for the project - said in a statement.

This includes the core, radio access and transport network, operation and business support systems and managed systems, besides supporting local vendor development and participation, DNB said.

“Ericsson has undertaken to arrange financing for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network,” DNB said.

DNB said Malaysia aimed to launch 5G at its national and administrative capitals of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya by the end of the year, before eventually expanding nationwide by 2023.

China’s Huawei had long been seen as the frontrunner for Malaysia’s 5G contract, with the government having previously dismissed security concerns raised by the United States.

Huawei had already signed a deal with Maxis, Malaysia’s second-largest mobile network by subscribers, to launch 5G services. ($1 = 4.1565 ringgit) (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Davies)