The Delay of 5G Network Rollout in Malaysia to the End of 2022 for Smart Reasons

Are you a Malaysian? There is a very good tiding for you since the country plans to launch its 5G network for the next two years. The country previously plans to release the 5G network in the third quarter of 2020. However, the government holds it as it seems better to focus on 4G first. While vendors and customers may still use the 4G network up to around next year, the prototype of 5G is developed. This way, when it is launched, the service will be much better with minimum problems.

The delay of the 5G network launching is explained by the Minister of Communication and Multimedia, Saifuddin Abdullah. He said that the 5G network will be available at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. The minister confirmed that there are some reasons behind the delay. Launching a new network when 4G has not been available widely yet is useless. Besides, it may give some problems in terms of adoptions, regulations, and costs.

More importantly, if the 5G network is launched sooner, it can also cause a problem for society itself. Around 70% of the 5G users may come from industries and businesses. Only 30% of them come from the realm of common people. Therefore, rather than fastening the launching process, it is much better to make a better plan. It also gives chances to companies or vendors to provide the 5G network in a better way as well.

The Improvement of 4G Network

Since this year the Malaysian government has focused on the improvement and stabilization of the 4G network more, there are some actions to do. It conducts a set of plans namely JENDELA. The plans included in JENDELA along with the purposes are as follows. First, it is to increase the scope of the 4G network from 91.8% to 96.9% in the first phase. At the same time, the fixed broadband speed has also increased from 25 Mbps to 35 Mbps while improving the gigabyte connectivity of about 7.5 million people.

Second, the government also focuses on the establishment of towers in villages particularly in the areas of Sabah and Sarawak. To give more space for the 4G network, they also will close spots of the 3G network completely by the end of 2021.

Vendors Involved in the Establishment of 5G Network

Since the 5G network is the future, the Malaysian government is said to collaborate with some vendors to make sure that the 5G network establishes well in the future. Predictions come to the surface although it is clear whether those companies will be really involved or not. Something which is sure, one of the companies will be Celcom Axiata, the second-biggest network operator in the country. It is even predicted that the operator will conduct the 5G service using 2 network vendors. Recently, Celcom conducted discussions before making a final decision.

Jamaludin Ibrahim, the president and CEO of Axiata Group, the mother company of Celcom stated that his company has provided budgets of around $1 billion to establish the 5G network all over Malaysia in 5 years. Based on the report from Reuters, Huawei becomes the primary wireless provider for Celcom. The Chinese company is known to conduct an agreement with Celcom for the 5G establishment. But so far, the agreement has not yet been finished.

Huawei is not the only partner of Celcom. The company also collaborates with Ericsson. Ericsson is known as the traditional collaborator of the company so that it is highly possible if the project must also involve it. As information, in May 2017, Celcom and Ericsson made a trial of the pre-standard 5G. Previously, both Ericsson and Huawei were the main infrastructure providers for the 4G project of Celcom.

According to Ibrahim, generally, Celcome wants to have 2 vendors as collaborators. Those vendors may refer to Huawei and Ericsson only. However, some reports also stated that some other vendors can possibly be involved; they are Nokia and ZTE.

Despite the delay of the 5G network establishment, the Malaysian telecommunication regulator has confirmed the plan to allocate the 5G spectrum in the country. The spectrum is divided into 4 lines. Interestingly, as the government previously plans that the 5G network can be operated commercially this year, all of the plans have been mostly ready. With the additions of time durations, it is expected that the realization can be much better.

Furthermore, even after the implementation of the 5G network, the 4G spectrum allocation will be maintained. It includes the lines of 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz at least until December 2021. In the same month, those lines are also planned to be evaluated whether they work well or not.