Yesterday, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) was pleased to announce its 5G network is ahead of schedule. According to the company, its 5G network will exceed 40% coverage of populated areas (COPA) nationwide by December 2022 and is on track to achieve the committed 80% COPA by 2024 or earlier.
Figuratively speaking, the network will reach 14 million people located in those areas where the network has been established, and over 30 million over the next two years. DNB also said the 40% COPA will be achieved with approximately 3,500 sites against an initially planned 4,018 sites. The network currently includes almost all of Wilayah Persekutuan, Putrajaya, Selangor, and significant parts of Penang, Johor, and Negeri Sembilan, as well as some parts of Malacca, Perak, Kelantan, Sabah, and Sarawak.
To date, five of six Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Malaysia – Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YES) – have commenced making retail 5G services available to their end users, following the signing of their respective 5G Access Agreements with DNB on 31 October 2022. However, Maxis Bhd customers will not be able to access 5G services just yet, pending its shareholders’ approval to execute the 5G Access Agreement, which Maxis has indicated it plans to seek in January 2023.
At the moment, 56,000 concurrent users are utilising 146 Terabytes (TB) of capacity on 30 November 2022. The network is averaging 394 Mbps download speed against the average 4G download speed of 35 Mbps. It is forecasted that the growth will double in 2023 and exceed 40 million devices by 2030.
Meanwhile, 5G-compatible devices continue to proliferate the market, with some 7 million devices already in the hands of end users to date. Despite that, iPhone users will have to wait until Apple gives effect to their retail plans with their partner MNOs before 5G services are offered to the customers.
According to the National 5G Task Force Report, Malaysia’s economy is expected to undergo exponential growth by 2030 due to the 5G rollout. It is estimated that 5G will contribute RM8.538 billion to Malaysia’s GDP in 2025, with an 8% annual growth scenario. Meanwhile, 5G-enabled digital services will create new opportunities across multiple Malaysian industries, including energy, manufacturing, retail, construction, healthcare, logistics, agriculture, and others.