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Malaysia Continues Massive 5G Roll-Out

5G Demonstration Projects in Malaysia

Malaysia is determined to migrate to the 5G network by 2020, rolling out massive 5G project demonstrations nationwide, making the country among the first in Asia to deploy the technology.

Industry players are in agreement with the government’s ambitious and pragmatic approach, providing unwavering support and investments – proving the industry’s commitment towards establishing a strong, viable use for 5G applications that would transform various industries as well as improve living standards among Malaysians.

In September 2019, the Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that eight companies have committed to an initial investment of RM116 million for 5G demonstration projects from October 2019 to March 2020.

More recently, on 15 December 2019, the MCMC said six telecommunications companies conducted 5G demonstration projects (5GDP) in Langkawi, which have begun to show very good results with 37 cases of utilisation in the agriculture, digital healthcare, education, entertainment, smart city, smart transport, and tourism sectors.

The government further cemented its aspirations to grow Malaysia’s digital ecosystem with the introduction of the RM50 million 5G Ecosystem Development grant under the 2020 Budget to encourage technological innovation in the country.

The grant would incentivise local companies to venture into 5G development; further innovating and stirring demand nationwide.

Additionally, the government officially launched the five-year National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) on 19 September 2019, aimed at improving Internet quality and providing accessible and affordable connectivity to rural consumers.

The NFCP aims to bridge the urban-rural digital divide as service providers are generally reluctant to invest in telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas, as such ventures could be expensive due to challenges such as irregular terrain and dispersed settlements.

As such, the MCMC had set up the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund which aims to bridge the digital divide by providing collective and individual access to basic telephony and Internet services throughout the country.

The USP acts as a mechanism for channelling private sector investments into unprofitable rural areas, and the initiatives can only be implemented in underserved areas and underserved groups within the community.

Malaysian experts say that the country is now ready to deploy the fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology and its diverse level of use cases is one of its strengths, according to an earlier OpenGov Asia report.

Malaysia has been urged to expedite the initial use case successes in order to be the frontier in 5G deployment as countries like Singapore and South Korea are fast approaching.

5G really means ubiquitous connectivity, ubiquitous access, so the business model is fundamentally important. One of the strengths that Malaysia brings to this is its diverse level of cases and being able to ensure that as the country moves towards 5G era, how these case studies are developed and accelerated.

The cooperation between the government and research institutes are important in supporting local carriers to perform during the experiments. Experimentation needs to be enabled to see where it is working and connecting.

Under the 2020 Budget, the government has introduced a 5G Ecosystem Development grant worth RM50 million to encourage technological innovation in the country.

5G is expected to deliver 10 times higher speed than the current 4G technology, with speeds going beyond 1Gbps (gigabits per second), and will offer far superior user experience and capacity.

Malaysia believes it will greatly facilitate the government’s efforts to improve the livelihoods of Malaysians and catalyse Malaysia’s development.

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