The deployment of 5G in Malaysia is expected to serve as an economic and innovation driver for the country, according to a new study by IDC.
In a statement, the telecommunication vendor supplying 5G gear to Malaysia claimed that the technology is expected to enhance Malaysia's global and regional competitiveness, accelerate Industry 4.0 and enable new digital services in the consumer and enterprise spaces.
It claimed that by providing Malaysia with secure, robust connectivity and infrastructure, 5G also sets the foundation for future technological and business growth by delivering higher data speeds, ultra-low latency, greater reliability, massive network capacity and an enhanced consumer experience for users.
The conclusions were based on an Ericsson-commissioned IDC White Paper entitled “Building a 5G Foundation for Digital Malaysia.”
The paper seeks to point out the potential impact of 5G on the consumer and enterprise segments in Malaysia, and made some recommendations for Malaysia's 5G deployment.
The study also emphasised the critical role of mobile networks (4G/5G) in accelerating the Jendela and MyDigital initiatives, Malaysia’s 5G readiness compared to its regional peers.
David Hägerbro, head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said, “Ericsson now looks forward to working with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) to deliver a world-class 5G network for Malaysia and accelerate the digital transformation for Malaysian consumers and enterprises.”
The study noted that mobile network operators need to introduce innovative applications, work with and enable developers to create robust apps and use cases that take full advantage of the speed, latency and reliability offered by 5G to enable them to rapidly grow their customer base.
It also concluded that to realise the full benefits of 5G in Malaysia, 5G Standalone network is recommended as the ultimate architecture for 5G, with careful planning required to prepare for 5G SA for both network and device readiness.
Handset, connection forecast
According to IDC, 5G handsets for Malaysia comprised 21.2% of the market now noting that consumers have already started buying 5G devices in Malaysia as they become more affordable, despite the non-availability of a 5G network in Malaysia.
IDC forecasts that 5G handsets will make up 60.6% of total handset shipments to Malaysia in 2025, which in turn will enable a rapid take-up rate of 5G services.
The market research firm projects that by 2025 there will be 12.7 million 5G connections or roughly 22.4% of total subscribers as well as 43.1 million 4G LTE subscriptions in Malaysia or 76.2% of total subscriptions.
Hägerbro said “Ericsson stays committed to providing our leading edge 5G technology solutions and professional services to ensure that DNB can achieve the objectives of the MyDigital programme of the Malaysian government and help transform Malaysia into a digital economy.”
IDC’s vice president of IoT and telecommunications Hugh Ujhazy said, “The formation of DNB will open the way for Malaysia’s wireless services to move to the next level, driving the convergence of fixed and wireless infrastructure.
“The next three to five years will be an important period for Malaysia to integrate 5G into daily life and business processes.”
Malaysia's controversial 5G plans
On Feb 22, the Malaysian government announced that it would speed up 5G deployment through the use of a ‘special purpose vehicle’ (SPV) that will receive 5G spectra, as well as build, operate and lease 5G infrastructure to new and existing telcos by the end of 2021.
Dubbed DNB, the SPV is expected to invest a total of US$3.6bn (RM15 billion) over the next decade and will be given the appropriate spectrum to own, implement and manage 5G infrastructure.
The strategy has its detractors, with many in the industry still wondering if a single wholesale network strategy is best for the country's deployment of a 5G network.
On July 1, DNB announced that it has chosen Ericsson as the sole 5G vendor that will be tasked with setting an end-to-end 5G network for Malaysia. A week later on July 8, DNB was on the defensive trying to explain the rationale of its single wholesale network play.
Since then, DNB has also been under the microscope with Reuters news wire reporting that none of Malaysia's major mobile carriers have agreed to use the government's 5G network yet due to transparency and pricing issues, ahead of a rollout planned for December.
DNB has since responded, saying the negotiations are still ongoing with all telco operators in the country over 5G deployment.
Meanwhile, other media have pointed out the DNB and Ericsson have been highlighting the benefits of 5G despite some analysts warning that the 5G situation in Malaysia is not as sanguine as they painted it would be.
To read the IDC White Paper, click here.
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