4G coverage at 96% as of June, says MCMC

Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Commission says there will be 1,661 new sites to expand 4G coverage in rural and remote areas.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Digital Network Plan (Jendela) Phase 1 target remains on track after hitting a milestone of deploying 7.2 million buildings with fiber optic connections and delivering 95.82 4G coverage % as of June 30.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chief Operating Officer Ali Hanafiah Yunus said that in terms of speed, internet connections averaged between 30Mbps and 47Mbps.

“We are working closely with the telecom industry and state-level stakeholders,” he said today at Jendela’s second quarterly earnings report (April-June) in virtual media and at an analyst briefing.

Jendela’s goal for Phase 1 is to have fiber connectivity in 7.5 million buildings by December 31, for 96.9% coverage.

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When the initiative began, approximately 4.96 million buildings had fiber connectivity and 4G coverage was 91.8% as of August 2020.

Ali also said that the Phase 1 cost allocation was initially RM20 billion, but was expanded to RM28 billion in the first year of implementation in 2021, with 60% coming from the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and the rest from the government that were funded by Universal Service Provision (USP) funds.

“Currently, the upcoming work for Phase 1 is the construction of 1,661 new sites across Malaysia to expand 4G coverage in rural and remote areas. Site surveys have been completed at most sites and are (we are) in the stage of obtaining state and local government approvals,” he said.

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Ali said 304,676 premises have yet to be shredded, from the target of 929,631 in Jendela’s 2020-2022 phase action plan.

He found that service providers were able to complete the construction of 57 new 4G towers in the April-June 2022 period, exceeding their target of 52, representing a 109.6% achievement.

It also completed the upgrade of 1,710 base stations versus the 1,607 target for Q2 2022.

However, 167,758 buildings (or 96.7%) were equipped with fiber connections, compared to the target of 173,508 in the second quarter of 2022.

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Ali said MCMC received 40,863 network complaints through MCMC ADUAN portal between January 1 and June 30 this year, down 66% from the same period a year ago.

This was due to the frequency band being ‘refarmed’ to provide 4G following the complete shutdown of 3G and further new 4G sites being completed and upgraded, particularly in urban and suburban areas.

Referring to the country’s 5G needs versus stable 4G connection, Ali said 5G will benefit high-tech industries such as medicine and oil and gas.

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