Malaysia readies 5G rollout in SE Asia

Photo by Boey Jun Hui

Malaysia’s National 5G Task Force, mandated to study and recommend a holistic strategy for 5G mobile technology deployment in the country, said it is on track to conclude its findings by November 2019.

Over the past eight months, the Task Force has carried out various activities including initiating the 5G test beds which consist of 5G Showcase and Field trials to understand the technical capabilities and performance of the 5G technology.

The first 5G Test Bed Call for Collaboration was announced in November 2018. Subsequently, a workshop in collaboration with multiple ministries and relevant stakeholders was held last June, to create awareness among policy makers on the benefits of 5G, identify regulatory impediments in respective sectors, as well as identifying potential 5G use cases.

A Call for Collaboration for 5G Demonstration Projects was also made that same month. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission received proposals from 11 companies across various verticals namely agriculture, education, entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing and process industries, oil and gas, smart city, transportation and tourism that are primed to benefit from 5G.

A total of 66 5G use cases have been identified by both government and private sectors, culminating in an estimated total industry investment of 50 million ringgit (about $12 million).

Also, a public inquiry on the allocation of spectrum bands for mobile broadband service was initiated in July and will conclude at the end of this month. The findings will be considered for a spectrum roadmap for Malaysia, which is expected to be finalised by the first quarter of 2020.

Minister Gobind Singh Deo said that in the spirit of Kemakmuran Bersama (shared prosperity), the government is expanding the 5G demonstrations from the original testbed areas of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, to five other areas/states — Selangor, Perak, Terengganu, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Kedah.

“Our vision to transform Malaysia into a digital nation requires greater coordination and synergy across ministries, state governments and industry, and support from all Malaysians,” said Gobind.