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MCMC Public Inquiry Report: Major Telcos Disagreed on Improved Standards for Wireless Broadband Service

Major Telecommunication service providers in Malaysia have disagreed on the proposed new Mandatory Standards for the Quality of Wireless Broadband Service by MCMC.

MCMC-office-building-ishak

The proposal, which was made in April 2021 by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), will soon be implemented, starting August 2021.

According to MCMC, the proposed revision of the Mandatory Standards for Quality of Service (MSQoS) for Wireless Broadband Access Service will ensure enhancements to existing levels of quality of service by the service providers and further improve consumers’ experience.

As part of its review of the Mandatory Standards for Quality of Service (Wireless Broadband Access Service) – Determination No.1 of 2016, some of the improved standard of Wireless Broadband service in Malaysia will include the following:

1. Base Station and Backhaul Utilization issues to be rectified in 7 days – MCMC

One of the major issues faced by mobile consumers in Malaysia are related to slow Internet speeds and network congestion. This is due to poor network optimisation and slow network upgrades by the Telcos.

The new Mandatory Standards by MCMC will require Telco service providers to fix any congestion issues at the base station level within 7 days.

MCMC has said that, “Monthly average % of network utilization (including but not limited to PRB, backhaul, aggregated layer, etc) per base station for the duration of 3 months (quarterly) shall not be more than 80% and shall be rectified within 7 days.”

While the new standards set by MCMC would offer a better network experience for consumers, all the Telcos have disagreed with the proposal last month.

According to Telekom Malaysia, it could “revert only with solutions within 7 days from the submission date instead of rectification within 7 days.”

Meanwhile U Mobile said it “disagrees with the proposal and proposes that the reporting is for monitoring purpose only and not for compliance.”

Celcom warned that “the substantial costs for implementing high/inappropriate QoS standards imposed by MCMC on eNodeB utilization and backhaul utilization will eventually increase the deployment cost for wireless broadband in Malaysia.”

Maxis is in view that not all high traffic instances cause service degradation. Digi proposed that the eNodeB utilization should not be regulated by MCMC.

2. Wireless Broadband Network Latency shall be equal or less 150ms, 90% of time

A network latency, also known as a Ping, is a measure of delay. In a network, latency measures the time it takes for some data to get to its destination across the network. It is usually measured as a round trip delay – the time taken for information to get to its destination and back again.

A low latency network generally indicates a good Internet connection and it is critical/required when it comes to playing online games, making voice calls (Whatsapp/Telegram/others) and video calls (Zoom/Teams/Skype).

Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile, Telekom Malaysia (TM) and YTL have all disagreed with the proposal of the mandatory 150ms (equal or less than) network latency, 90% of time, based on static test.

Part of the response by major Telcos below:

  • Celcom: While the latency test could be used for audit purposes ‘as and when’ deemed necessary but any poor results are not subjected to enforcement/penalty. Celcom proposed that a “network latency must not be more than 150ms, 80% of the time based on test sample”.
  • Digi: “Network Latency not more than 100ms based on crowdsource data reported at state level in a quarterly reporting period”
  • Maxis: “Latency of not more than 150ms, 80% of the time for the state or nationwide measurement.”
  • Telekom Malaysia: “Not more than 150ms at 80% of the time for static test method”
  • U Mobile: “Not more than 150ms at 80% of the time for static test method”

MCMC says that the new network latency requirement will be measured from test points within Malaysia to a test server located in Klang Valley.

3. Minimum 2.5Mbps Wireless Broadband Speeds & 25Mbps for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), 90% of time

A wireless broadband service, also known as mobile broadband is commonly powered by the 4G networks in Malaysia.

The new mandatory standards requires a minimum 2.5Mbps, 90% of time, for all TDD and FDD networks (4G), based on static test. The parameters set are not an average of an area but individual user or device. In other words, starting next month, all mobile Internet users in the country should get a minimum 2.5Mbps speeds, 90% of time, especially to a local server in Klang Valley.

MCMC said that the 2.5Mbps throughput is able to provide seamless individual user experience for HD (720p) video streaming on mobile devices.

Meanwhile, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a wireless broadband service, such as the Celcom Home Wireless plans and the Ultra Unlimited Broadband Wireless plans from U Mobile. FWA in Malaysia is normally offered using a 4G Wireless Router with WiFi capabilities, to be used at home. MCMC now requires a minimum 25Mbps speeds (based on static test) via FWA, 90% of the time, on a 4G network.

MCMC says that “it is expected that FWA may be a prominent solution as an alternative to fixed broadband service for home users. Therefore, the standard for FWA must be higher than wireless broadband to provide good experience for multiple home broadband users.” The increase in standards will encourage service providers to invest on network expansion in improving Quality of Service (QoS), it added.

Celcom, Digi, Maxis, Telekom Malaysia, U Mobile and YTL have all disagreed with the proposal of the new minimum speeds, at 90% of the time.

Part of the response by major Telcos below:

  • Celcom: High/inappropriate QoS standard imposed by MCMC will eventually increase the deployment cost for wireless broadband in Malaysia, or at the least, competitive pricing declines will be impacted. Celcom is proposing 2.5Mbps, but only 80% of the time. But this should only be used as a reference and not subject to enforcement/penalty by MCMC.
  • Digi: Broadband Speed “Not less than 10Mbps (averaged) based on Crowdsource data reported at state level in a quarterly reporting period”
  • Maxis: “Throughput of not less than 2.5Mbps, 80% of the time for the state or nationwide measurement.”
  • Telekom Malaysia: “challenging to meet with the current spectrum allocation and the constraint of not able to carrier aggregate 2.6GHz TDD and 2.3GHz TDD due to unsupported current technology.” TM proposed, “not less than 2.5Mbps, 80% of time for Static test for both TDD/FDD” or “not less than 10Mbps average within LTE network using the crowd sourcing methodology”
  • U Mobile: “agrees with the required minimum network throughput of 2.5Mbps but at 80% of the time.” FWA to have same standard as Wireless Broadband as it shares same network resources.
  • YTL: “Not less than 1.5Mbps, 80% of time” and “Not less than 70% of subscribed bandwidth, 80% of the time base on sample”

Some of the Telcos have also proposed that the Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) standard should follow the Wireless Broadband standards, with a minimum 2.5Mbps speeds and not 25Mbps.

As part of the national JENDELA plan, MCMC requires that the mobile service providers should offer an average 35 Mbps speeds in the network, by the end of 2022.

Another improvement as part of the new standards include: Packet loss must be not more than 0.5%, calculated based on the test sample.

In response to the Telcos, MCMC said that the new standard is set to ensure better service availability and reliability for consumers. “The inclusion of network utilization for the intermediary or infrastructure element will encourage service provider to ensure adequate capacity allocated for every serving site.”

MCMC said that the new MSQoS shall be enforced on per location basis, “to ensure that problematic areas are rectified as soon as it is feasible.”

It would also “Encourage service providers to ensure that adequate network quality is provided for all coverage locations.”

“Standards set are to ensure each user are able to obtain service as advertised by the service provider.”

All the new network standards will be implemented starting August 2021.

[Download PDF] – Proposal: Mandatory Standards for Quality of Service (MSQoS) for Wireless Broadband Access Service

[Download PDF] – Report: Mandatory Standards for Quality of Service (MSQoS) for Wireless Broadband Access Service

About Kugan

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