Malaysian mobile data speeds improved ahead of 5G rollout

mobile Internet speeds have noticeably improved ahead of its 5G rollout, with most users now on 4G more than 80% of the time, says Speedtest.net.

It reported that 4G was the prevalent technology in Malaysia as of the last quarter of 2020, with users connected to 4G 83.3% of the time, followed by 3G (12.1%) and 2G (1.3%).

In terms of speed, Malaysia ranked fourth in South-East Asia for both mobile download and upload speeds, trailing behind Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Malaysia’s mean download speed was 24.53 Mbps, while its mean upload speed was 11.19 Mbps.

Speedtest noted that 4G coverage followed population density, with holes in coverage in areas with less than 20 people per square kilometer, including large sections of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia and portions of Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak and Pahang in Peninsula Malaysia.

It quoted Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s Jendela programme, noting that the government is gradually retiring 3G, which would eventually open up spectrum for 4G and further improve its reach.

Speedtest noted that the government had made a commitment to maintaining the existing capacity of existing 4G networks, prohibiting the repurposing of these frequencies for 5G use, instead pre-allocating spectrum licenses for 5G exclusively in the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands.

“While Malaysian consumers are still waiting for 5G, that hasn’t stopped mobile providers from implementing other network improvements to provide better performance in the interim,” the Internet speed analysis service said in its market update.

It noted consumers are beginning to invest in 5G-capable devices, seeing a 225% increase in the proportion of such devices using Speedtest in the second half of 2020.

In Q3-Q4, 5.2% of the devices using Speedtest were 5G compatible, versus 1.6% in Q1-Q2.

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