5G connectivity graces 68.8% of inhabited regions according to Communications Ministry
Progress in Malaysia’s 5G Implementation
Malaysia is making significant progress in expanding its digital infrastructure, with the country’s 5G network operator, Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB), having developed 5,724 sites and achieved 68.8% coverage of populated areas as of August 31, 2023. The company is working hard to implement 5G services across the nation rapidly.
The Malaysian government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital (KKD) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), is actively supporting these efforts. This support forms part of the National Digital Interconnection Plan (Jendela), which aims to improve Internet access in urban, rural, and interior areas across the country.
DNB’s Infrastructure Developments
By the second quarter of 2023, DNB had completed and made operational 1,996 new communication towers out of the projected 3,830. In addition, they upgraded 39,226 transmitters out of the planned 39,491, and provided 3,085,297 premises with fiber optic access out of the 4,189,525 planned premises. These efforts have helped increase the percentage of 4G coverage. As of now, the percentage of 4G coverage in populated areas across the country stands at 96.96%. These statistics were shared during the 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review (12MP MTR) in Dewan Negara.
Equity Holdings and Leadership Changes
Significant announcements are anticipated concerning the finalization of equity holdings and changes in the top leadership of DNB. All telecommunication companies have agreed to sign the access agreement to provide 5G service, but the specifics of share ownership in DNB are yet to be disclosed.
Plans for a Second 5G Network
The Malaysian government has revealed plans to roll out a second 5G network in 2024, once DNB’s coverage reaches 80% of the country’s populated areas. This new network aims to increase market competition, leading to improved network infrastructure performance and customer service levels.
5G Adoption and Challenges
Despite the growing network coverage, the current 5G adoption rate in Malaysia stands at 4.2%. The high cost of 5G devices has been identified as one of the main reasons for the low adoption rate of 5G services. The government is working to foster closer ties with local operators and vendors to provide affordable 5G devices for users in Malaysia.
Collaboration with Telecommunication Companies
Local telcos, including Telekom Malaysia, CelcomDigi, YTL Communications, U Mobile, and Maxis, have all agreed to the wholesale access agreement with DNB. These collaborations aim to accelerate the deployment of 5G infrastructure and ensure interoperability between networks once the dual 5G networks are in place.
In conclusion, Malaysia is making significant strides in expanding and improving its digital infrastructure. The government’s active participation in this endeavor, combined with the efforts of DNB, is helping to bring reliable and advanced Internet access to more people across the country. The implementation of 5G services is ongoing, and the country has nearly achieved full 4G coverage in populated areas. The future of digital interconnection in Malaysia looks promising with these developments.
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