For over two decades now, thousands of people in 5 villages don’t have access to proper mobile services, affecting many families in Padang Serai, Kedah.
In a statement last December, the country’s communication regulator said that some 8,000 residents in 5 villages (kampungs) in Padang Serai, Kedah don’t have access to mobile services.
These 5 villages (kampungs) that have been identified are Taman Bunga Raya, Taman Raya Indah, Taman Raya Murni, Kampung Padang dan Kampung Nesa.
MCMC said it only investigated the areas after the issue was reported by the Harian Metro newspaper and TV3.
“We have included these areas in the planning for the construction of a new communication tower under Jendela as a solution to improve the quality of coverage, and it is expected to be completed within a year,” the statement read.
Malaysia first launched its 2G services sometime in 1995. Following that, Celcom was first launched 3G service in 2005. Meanwhile Maxis was 1st to launch 4G in January 2013.
The five villages in Pandang Serai will get 4G sometime by the end of 2023, more than 27 years later since GSM mobile services were made available in the country.
My observation last week during the Hari Raya holidays showed that Celcom started improving 2G coverage in the affected villages while there are almost zero coverage by other mobile service providers.
For Kampung Nesa, below are my observation and the coverage map reported by the top 4 mobile service providers.
Maxis coverage map indicates that it has strong 4G coverage in Kampung Nesa but this is not true as I wasn’t able to get any 4G or 2G signal.
It appears that the Maxis 4G Coverage map is over exaggerated and does not represent actual user experience.
Celcom coverage map indicates that it has poor 4G coverage at Kampung Nesa but in reality there are no 4G signal at all when tested for the past 6 years. However, it had good 2G coverage when tested last week.
Digi says that it only has 2G coverage in Kampung Nesa however this is not true. There are no signal at all when tested for the past 6 years.
U Mobile coverage map shows that it doesn’t have any 4G network in Kampung Nesa. However when I tested, U Mobile had scattered 4G coverage in Kampung Nesa with speeds up to 30Mbps. VoLTE was also available despite the poor 4G signal. U Mobile was the only service provider to offer limited 4G coverage in Kampung Nesa at the time of writing.
There are no 5G coverage yet in the areas reported.
In March 2023, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil confidently announced that the human population mobile coverage (2G+4G) in Malaysia stood at 96.9%, as of December 2022. However, it is not known if these villages in Padang Serai were included into these coverage statistic which are not independently verified.
There were no mention about penalties issued on MCMC and the mobile service providers for their failures to deploy any mobile coverage in these villages for the past two decades.
Here’s a question: What has MCMC been doing for the past 24 years since it was established?
How many more people can’t get a mobile signal on their phone in 2023, I wonder.
Do contact Harian Metro and TV3 if you are not getting any mobile signal or poor mobile services.
[PDF] – Statement issued by MCMC on 1 December 2022
This is a commentary. The views/comments/opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the view of MalaysianWireless.