Network quality concerns

KUALA LUMPUR: Actual mobile broadband quality as experienced by Internet users in Malaysia is generally lower than promised, a research by the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) revealed.

“Mobile broadband quality as experienced by Internet users is shown to be lower than that reported by service providers, even in urban areas with better developed infrastructure,” the institute said in statement yesterday.It cited a study from the Malaysian Consumer Forum which said that during the lockdown, users have given feedback claiming that they did not enjoy promised Internet speeds.

“There were even complaints from users who could not acquire any network access in their homes and places of residence due to the absence of nearby telecommunication towers,” KRI’s latest book titled: #NetworkedNation: Navigating Challenges, Realising Opportunities of Digital Transformation had revealed.

“The media has also reported a lower grade of mobile broadband services in Malaysia compared to countries considered less economically developed, such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar,” it added.

A ten-person speed test in ten different urban areas in the Klang Valley performed on mobile networks in Malaysia using the Opensignal application had also revealed an observation which KRI felt is ‘concerning’.

“Based on the test conducted, none of the participants recorded an average download speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) or higher. Even for individual readings, no participant recorded a reading of 100Mbps or higher. There were participants who achieved 4G LTE-A coverage but their highest download speeds seemed to fall short of 100Mbps,” it noted.“The maximum download speed or peak download speed of 100Mbps. The maximum download speed indicates whether or not users enjoy the benefit of the 4G network technology,” it said.

The objective of this test was to assess the quality of service enjoyed by users of mobile broadband services in different locations, the KRI said.

The ten participants were located in main urban localities within the Klang Valley metropolitan area including Hulu Selangor, Putrajaya, Klang, Kajang and Puchong.

“It should be acknowledged that indoor signal degradation may be the potential cause for the poor speed of the LTE-A network. However, this raises the question of whether the situation should simply be ignored when users are left with a quality of service that is unstable and much poorer than is marketed by service providers?,” the book observed.

The KRI also noted that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) reports namely the The Quality of Service Network Performance Reports had also provided an assessment of the quality of telecommunications services in the provision of voice calling and broadband services in Malaysia.

It had however highlighted that download speeds indicated in the MCMC report is much higher than when compared to a study done by another private entity: Opensignal.

“Opensignal obtains data through crowdsourcing via their proprietary application of the same name. The download speeds indicated in the MCMC report is much higher than in the Opensignal report,” KRI said.

“For example, the MCMC reported average Maxis download speed in Malaysia at 32.3Mbps but the data recorded by the Opensignal report indicates instead a figure of 17.7Mbps,” it added.KRI noted that these differences may be due to data collection methods.

The Opensignal data is crowdsourced by users and is mainly based on the actual speed they experienced even when indoors, reflecting regular internet use; while in contrast, the data provided by MCMC was based on self-reporting by the telecommunication companies in accordance with testing guidelines provided by MCMC, the institute highlighted.

Meanwhile, it also pointed out several countries which have set higher download speed standards for their mobile networks when compared to Malaysia.

These countries include: Poland (30Mbps for 100% of households), the USA (25Mbps), Qatar (100Mbps for 96% of households) and Germany (10 Mbps for 98% of households).

“In these countries, meeting the standards is a condition of spectrum distribution to telecommunication companies,” it said.

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Internet , Mobile broadband , network


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