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Malaysia Government wants 100% 4G Coverage, 100Mbps 5G Speeds

The current Government of Malaysia wants 100% 4G LTE mobile coverage and over 100Mbps mobile broadband speeds via 5G by the end of 2025.

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Set to be executed starting this year, an ambitious national project called Jalinan Digital Negara Plan (JENDELA) was announced late last month to improve the digital infrastructure of the country. There will be two phases of the project where Phase 1 is executed from 2020 to 2022 and Phase 2 from 2022-2025.

The Government revealed further details on JENDELA in a report called National Digital Infrastructure Lab (NDIL) that was published on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) website recently.

According to MCMC in the report, Internet traffic in Malaysia increased by 30% to 70% this year while Internet speeds have reduced by 30% to 40%. The regulator also revealed that complaints on Internet speeds, coverage have increased 40%-70%.

At the moment, MCMC said the current state (2020) of mobile and fixed broadband in Malaysia are as following:

  • 96.7% of 2G coverage in populated areas (based on at least 20 people per square km)
  • 95.3% of 3G coverage in populated areas
  • 91.8% of 4G LTE coverage in populated areas
  • 25Mbps mobile broadband speed
  • 4.95 mil premises passed (HSBB project by Telekom Malaysia)

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As part of Phase 1 (2020-2022) of JENDELA, MCMC said it intends to achieve the following targets:

  • 7.5 million premises passed for fixed broadband (HSBB)
  • 96.9% 4G LTE coverage (MCMC said JENDELA will consider options on cost saving to meet the 96.9%)
  • 35Mbps mobile broadband speeds
  • 5G planing – infrastructure to be 5G-ready

To achieve the 96.9% 4G LTE coverage, some 940 new sites will be deployed by end of 2020, 4,589 sites to be upgraded to 4G by end of 2021 and another 1,661 new 4G sites to be deployed by end of 2022.

By the end of 2020, some 16,214 existing base stations at urban and suburban areas will also be “upgraded” although MCMC did not reveal details of this upgrade.

As part of Phase 1, Celcom Axiata, Maxis, Digi and U Mobile will retire their 3G network at the end of 2021 and migrate the 3G spectrum for 4G technology use, further improving 4G mobile Internet speeds.

To achieve its fixed broadband targets, MCMC intends to:

  • fiberise 352,101 premises in 2020
  • fiberise 1,245,452 premises in 2021
  • fiberise 929,631 premises in 2022

Phase 2 (2022-2025) of JENDELA will involve the following:

  • 9 million premises passed for fixed broadband (HSBB), with gigabit speeds
  • 100% 4G LTE coverage in populated areas (MCMC said the achievement of the remaining 3.1% is subject to physical survey and alternative technologies)
  • 100Mbps mobile broadband speeds, by adopting 5G
  • 5G full deployment with coverage in populated areas (Editor’s note: percentage of coverage was not disclosed)

To improve quality of service, MCMC wants service providers to deliver a minimum experience, among of them as below:

  • Video Streaming: 4k video without buffering (fixed broadband), High Definition (HD) 720p video without buffering, 90% of the time on mobile broadband
  • Top 5 most visited sites as defined by Alexa and Malaysian government websites to load within 5 seconds, 90% of the time
  • E-Sports: Latency less than 50 ms, 90% of the time (fixed broadband), Latency less than 150 ms, 90% of the time (mobile broadband)
  • Internet Protocol (IP) voice & video calls such as Zoom: Latency less than 100 ms, 90% of the time (fixed broadband), Latency less than 150 ms, 90% of the time (mobile broadband)

The National Digital Infrastructure Lab (NDIL) report also identified four (4) key policy support needed to accelerate the projects delivery to achieve the “national aspirations” above:

  • Blanket approval from States and PBTs (pihak berkuasa tempatan) to approve the digital infrastructure deployment to meet the national aspirations
  • Access to Federal owned lands and buildings to develop digital infrastructure and expand coverage and quality
  • Digital infrastructure to be planned, deployed and treated as public utility
  • Standardisation of electricity tariff for communications service based on industrial
    rates

There are also plans to create a national level fixed broadband and mobile coverage map that will be accessible by the public. Called JENDELA Map, it will use the Communication Infrastructure Management System (CIMS) that was developed by MCMC for the management of the National Network Database (NND). NND include details such as fibre optic routes, node locations, capacity and usage, wireless infrastructure, ground/switch/cable landing stations and other information. JENDELA Map is said to include details such as Infrastructure/Service/Investment mapping, Spectrum usage, Population data and more.

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For example, with JENDELA Map, a consumer could check availability of a fixed or mobile broadband service at a particular location. The system will then generate service availability by service providers. If there are no coverage, the consumer could request for the service and service provider must notify consumer the status of the coverage/network expansion.

[Download PDF] – National Digital Infrastructure Lab (NDIL) report by MCMC

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About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy