5G in Malaysia: Digital Nasional Berhad Targets 80% Coverage Nationwide by 2024

DNB has exceeded its 2022 target of reaching 50% coverage of populated areas (COPA)

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Johor’s 5G was said to have reach over 50% coverage by end of 2022

Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) is pleased to announce that Malaysia’s 5G network has achieved almost 50% coverage of populated areas (COPA) with some 3,900 sites as at end-2022 – comfortably exceeding the target of 40%.

DNB is now focused on delivering the committed target of 80% COPA by end 2024, if not earlier. The network currently reaches some 15 million people today and when fully deployed, it will reach more than 30 million people and businesses.

State and local councils supported DNB by providing accelerated approvals for deployment. Consequently, DNB was able to recover some shortfalls in setting up sites and achieved a speedier deployment during the last month.

DNB has achieved more than 90% COPA throughout Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and Selangor as well as some 50% across Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan. All other states are in various stages of deployment and, together with the aforementioned states, are expected to achieve full network deployment in 2024, if not earlier.

Nationwide 5G coverage

*The network currently exceeds 95% coverage in dense-urban (Kuala Lumpur) and major urban (Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Johor Bahru, Georgetown) locations nationwide

Nasution Mohamed, Chief Operating Officer of DNB, said, “Having exceeded our 2022 network coverage target, we are working closely with both our Mobile Network Operator (MNO) 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.”

Except for Maxis Bhd, all MNOs – Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YES) – have made retail 5G services available to their more than 20 million subscribers, following the signing of their respective 5G Access Agreements with DNB on 31 October 2022.

Maxis Bhd customers are unable to access retail 5G services pending their shareholders’ approval to execute the 5G Access Agreement with DNB, which Maxis Bhd has indicated it plans to seek in January this year.

Significant uptake of 5G-compatible smartphones, increase in 5G network traffic

5G-compatible devices continue to proliferate the market, with approximately 8 million devices already in the hands of end users as of end-2022. Growth is forecasted to double this year and exceed 40 million devices by 2030.

Apple is the latest device manufacturer to issue firmware updates in Malaysia to make iPhones 12 and subsequent models compatible with the 5G network. There are currently 15 device brands with more than 100 5G-compatible devices for all budgets available in the Malaysian market. This, coupled with myriad retail 5G data plan offerings from the five Malaysian MNOs will result in accelerated 5G adoption among end users over the next few years.

Since the launch of 5G services by the five MNOs, Malaysia’s 5G network has seen an 8x increase in usage from 32TB to 253TB per day, with a peak of some 90,000 concurrent users as of 31 December 2022. The 5G network is averaging 380 Mbps download speed (which compares favourably with other reported global benchmarks) against the average 4G download speed of 35 Mbps.