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Malaysia’s 5G on track

According to a recent report, Malaysia’s National 5G Task Force, which was established to study and recommend a holistic strategy for 5G deployment in Malaysia, has made significant progress since its inception in October 2018.

Its chairman stated that the achievements of the task force include an increase in its membership, organising the 5G Malaysia Showcase, industry readiness in 5G implementation, as well as various plans discussed by each working group in the task force.

In terms of membership, it was noted that the number has increased from 30 during its initial stages to 110 as of 31 May 2019.

Moreover, the 5G Malaysia Showcase in Putrajaya, which was held from 18-21 April 2019, received an overwhelming response when it recorded 10,000 visitors from all walks of life.

More importantly, industry players have also shown their readiness in working together to ensure the success of the inaugural showcase.

Among the latest 5G technologies showcased include autonomous self-driving car, drone for emergency first-responders, holoportation, remote surgery, and precision farming.

It was further explained that the four working groups under the task force; namely Business Case, Regulatory, Infrastructure, and Spectrum Management and Allocation; have all started work and are preparing their findings in the various areas of concern relating to 5G.

These include performing technical assessments, confirming suitable use cases and business model potential, as well as facilitating policy recommendations towards a more systematic 5G planning.

Apart from the work of the task force, a spectrum study is also being carried out to ensure readiness and availability of spectrum for 5G implementation. Meanwhile, a call for collaboration for 5G Malaysia Demonstration Project with the industry will also be announced in the near future.

Under this call for collaboration, industry players are invited to propose projects under verticals such as Agriculture, Automotive, Education, Media and Entertainment, Health, Manufacturing, Public Safety, Smart City, and catering for the differently-abled.

To enhance coordination, understanding and 5G implementation among government agencies and Ministries, the 5G Framework Enhancement Workshop with Ministries and Stakeholders was held on 27 June 2019 at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM).

The workshop was organised with the aim of creating awareness amongst policy makers in the country about the benefits of 5G, as well as generating new ideas on how to implement 5G use cases in various sectors. During the workshop, challenges in policy-making or regulatory framework were identified.

In implementing 5G, Malaysia is pulling out all the stops.

In April 2019, the Chief Officer of the Digital Industry Development & Commercialisation at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) stated that actual implementation 5G will take time.

He noted that the MCMC was doing a spectrum study called the “Reallocation of spectrum bands for use by mobile broadband service. The study aimed to ensure spectrum availability for mobile broadband services, including that of 5G.

He noted that 5G is a “long-term game”. In Malaysia, 4G LTE took about seven years and still hasn’t reached 100% coverage. This year will bring proof of how 5G can be used. There is a clear plan among Malaysia’s service providers.

Despite the 5G optimism, however, there are security concerns for countries that are aiming to implement 5G.

The MCMC Chief Officer noted that security is important and whether 5G or existing technologies, awareness must be prevalent with regards to the underlying important critical issue. It is not only the provider of the tech, but also the security of the operational infrastructure and procedures. Security will be broken at the weakest link – which could well be an operator.

The official is confident, however, that the 5G standards that have been designed are up to par.

The results of the spectrum study will reveal about the future of 5G in Malaysia and who gets what spectrum. Malaysia isn’t the only country waiting to see if 5G technology will exceed what 4G LTE has achieved thus far.

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