Monday, June 5, 2023

Maxis admits Poor 4G Network Experience in East Malaysia, over the Past 9 Years [Commentary]

Maxis, the only mobile network operator in Malaysia without a 5G service, made a statement recently admitting its poor 4G network experience for users in Sabah and Sarawak.


Based on that statement, Maxis 4G users in Sarawak have been experiencing a poor Internet latency of 48ms while those in Sabah had a far worse experience at 53ms.

Maxis launched its 4G network in January 2013, over 9 years ago. The company claims to offer “unmatched mobile, fixed & satellite connectivity, and digital solutions”.

Despite the poor and inconsistent Maxis 4G experience for millions of users in East Malaysia, Maxis 4G internet plans were priced the same nationwide, including for users in KL who are able to enjoy faster 4G speeds and significantly lower latency to the Internet.

Maxis made the statement [pdf] as it finally built a regional core network architecture with direct international connectivity in East Malaysia, specifically in Kuching and in Kota Kinabalu, decades after offering its mobile services in the country.

maxis 4g lte poor network experience sabah sarawak

The 4G network provider said the new core network architecture would allow for a larger capacity of mobile user traffic in Sabah and Sarawak, providing “improved user experience with higher speeds and lower latency, especially for video-related activities.”

“Prior to this, a centralised core in Maxis’ Klang Valley data centres served mobile internet users nationwide but the distance of Sabah and Sarawak from the Klang Valley added latency to users’ experience in those two states,” it said.

The 4G mobile operator said the average monthly mobile data consumption of its users in Sabah and Sarawak was higher than the national average with 32GB per user.

Newly appointed Maxis CEO, Goh Seow Eng said hence, the new regional core is an important investment to improve customers’ internet experience and caters to the high data volume as well as anticipated volume growth.

“Over a three-month assessment period, the newly launched core servers in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu resulted in significant improvements to internet latency and overall speeds for users across both states, particularly for video streaming and mobile gaming,” he said.

“In Sarawak, latency improved from 48 milliseconds (ms) to 23ms while download speeds increased from 31Mbps to 43Mbps. Similarly in Sabah, latency was 25ms compared to 53ms, and download speeds jumped from 25Mbps to 40Mbps,” he added.


In the meantime, the newly launched 5G network (that will replace 4G in the near future) offers an average download speeds of 394Mbps. 5G population coverage in Sarawak was 26.7% as of 30 November 2022. For Sabah, it was 19.4%.

As more areas in Sabah and Sarawak will be covered with the more advanced network next year, users who wants 5G with faster Internet speeds and better latency could sign up for 5G mobile plans from Celcom, Digi, U Mobile, Unifi and Yes right now.

This is a commentary. The views/comments/opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the view of MalaysianWireless.

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

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