MCMC: Current 5G adoption rate remains low at 1.2 million subscribers

The government is aiming to achieve 80% coverage in populated areas by the end of 2023. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Despite efforts to increase 5G network coverage in populated areas, the adoption rate for 5G currently stands at only 1.2 million subscribers.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief operating officer Datuk Mohd Ali Hanafiah Mohd Yunus, the “current adoption rate is unfortunately still low”.

“At 1.2 million that translates to a 3.1% adoption rate,” he said during the Jendela Phase 1 concluding briefing today (June 1).

Mohd Ali Hanafiah is optimistic that the adoption rate will improve once more coverage is provided through onboarded sites.

“Introducing lower-priced 5G devices will help to improve adoption rates,” he said.

Communications and Multimedia minister Fahmi Fadzil said current 5G coverage in populated areas has reached 59.9% in populated areas as of end April in a report on May 20.

The government is aiming to achieve 80% coverage in populated areas by the end of 2023. Then, Malaysia will switch to a dual network model where a second entity will be introduced to operate alongside Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB).

Mohd Ali Hanafiah said national digital connectivity plan Jendela Phase 1, which began in 2020, has concluded with targets achieved including 7.74 million premises passed with fibre connectivity (target: 7.4 million) and 4G coverage in populated areas reaching 96.92% (target: 96.9%).

Though the mean mobile broadband speed recorded is 116.03Mbps, Mohd Ali Hanafiah admitted that the figure includes 5G speed. In terms of 4G speed only, he said the mean speed is 35.3Mbps (target: 35Mbps).

He added that the implementation of Jendela Phase 1 has also led to less network complaints with 64,020 received in 2022 compared to 200,675 in 2021. Complaints were mostly related to issues with 4G service quality.

Jendela will now move on to planning for Phase 2 which will include targets such as 100% Internet coverage in populated areas. Mohd Ali Hanafiah said Phase 2 is expected to begin later this year.

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