Malaysia announced its single 5G network has achieved 50% coverage of populated areas, exceeding its original target of 40% in 2022.
In a statement, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), the company tasked with managing Malaysia’s sole 5G network for operators, revealed 3,900 sites were built at the end of last year to achieve the target. The network now reaches 15 million people, with the ambition to bring 5G connectivity to double that figure when completely rolled out.
DNB is now focusing on reaching 80% coverage in populated areas by the end of 2024. The company noted its deployment progress was supported by state and local councils, enabling it to recover shortfalls when setting up sites and deploying faster in December.
Coverage of populated areas in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor have reached around 90%. Meanwhile, other locations such as Johor, Malacca, Negeri, Sembilan have achieved 50% coverage. Complete full coverage is expected to be delivered by 2024.
DNB chief operating officer Nasution Mohamed said: “Having exceeded our 2022 network coverage target, we are working closely with both our mobile network operator partners and device manufacturers to promote and encourage the rapid adoption of 5G nationwide in 2023. The MNOs have introduced numerous 5G data plans for their customers at very attractive retail prices, so as to encourage adoption of 5G services.”
Apart from Maxis, all operators have begun selling 5G services following the signing of respective 5G access agreements with DNB in October 2022.
DNB detailed around 8 million 5G devices have connected to its network as of the end of 2022, with that figure predicted to grow to 40 million by 2030.
Signing up operators to Malaysia’s sole 5G network plan was much delayed with multiple operators taking issue with the controversial single 5G network plan, as operators feared the scheme would affect their ability to differentiate and improve the bottom line. DNB argued the process would streamline deployment, cut costs and make consumer 5G products more affordable.
Celcom Axiata, Digi Telecommunications, Telekom Malaysia, U Mobile and YTL Communications (YES), all signed up with DNB. The 5G network averages speeds of 380Mbps, surpassing 35Mbps seen on 4G.