Malaysian telcos hit 1-5Gbps high speed Internet during 5G tests

Interview with MCMC Chief Digital Officer Gerard Lim, then a site visit to the 5G trial , Wednesday, April 11, 2019. RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star.

Malaysian telcos running tests on their 5G network preparedness ahead of the coming 5G Malaysia Showcase proved it was possible to hit wireless Internet speeds of close to 5Gbps.

During a media briefing, the telcos including Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile showed the equipment they set up to test realistic speeds that 5G could achieve on different spectrums without clashing with each other.

The Maxis booth showed it was possible to reach 4.5-4.8Gbps consistently. In contrast, the highest speed offered by most telcos now is 100Mbps, making 5G about 40 times faster.

Maxis Bhd tech, strategy and planning head Tan Cheng Peng says enhance mobile broadband is one of the key applications telcos want to show the public, however the technology to convert 5G into a WiFi signal is currently a bottleneck being able to provide speeds of up to 500-700mbps.

He added that equipment that could exceed 1Gbps is likely to be available by next year.

Meanwhile Digi was able to hit 1.6Gbps and UMobile reached 1.4Gbps.

Celcom did not show its speeds on the day. Engineers at the booths noted that the differences in speed was caused by the different methods and bandwidth allocations that the companies were using during the test.

Instead of just being a test of how fast 5G can be, the companies are required to prove consistency through low latency and the ability to work alongside each other without causing signal interference.

Celcom Axiata Bhd chief network officer Yap Chee Sun says their showcase highlight will be an autonomous car that is able to operate safely thanks to the low latency of 5G that allows nearly real time data transmission.

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is hosting the 5G Malaysia Showcase, themed 5G Malaysia: Progressing Humanity, which will be open to the public on April 20 and 21 at the Kompleks Perbadanan Putrajaya.

The showcase will feature most local telcos including Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), equipment vendors Huawei and Nokia, plus an academic team from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

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