Malaysians really love their mobile internet and our data consumption is set to increase exponentially in the coming years. According to Maxis’ Q2 2017 report, average data usage on their network has almost doubled from 3.7GB/month to 7.0GB/month year-on-year. In addition, Ericsson predicts that mobile data traffic will increase by 11X for South East Asia and Oceania by 2022.
While our telcos are continuously upgrading their network, there’s one major problem that would hinder our demand for more data and it’s up in the air. Based on UTM’s report on our mobile broadband development, Malaysia needs more spectrum in order to fulfil the growing need for mobile data. If Malaysia doesn’t take appropriate action, the quality of our mobile internet would deteriorate.
|Industry in General, LTE, Players on the Field, Technologies|
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Today, in Digi‘s network update briefing, the telco made a bold claim that they had the most advanced LTE-Advanced network in Malaysia. According to them, this is due to the fact that they have the widest LTE-A network coverage plus VoLTE capabilities with VoWiFi rolling out sometime soon.
As part of its network expansion exercise, U Mobile has just rolled out its first ever 4G LTE-Advanced site in Malaysia. LTE-Advanced or also known as 4G+ offers faster speeds than conventional 4G. In real life usage, this would enable download speeds beyond 100Mbps which is made possible through carrier aggregation.
Capitalising on their “widest 4G LTE-A” network coverage, Digi launched two 4G LTE-Advanced plans — the Broadband 145 and Broadband 185. These plans are designed to give customers high-speed Internet connectivity anywhere within Digi’s LTE-A coverage areas via the company’s new LTE-A capable MobiFi device.
When it comes to LTE, South Korea is seen as a pioneer especially with its LTE-Advanced network. This time around, our southern neighbour has beaten them with Singtel’s 4G LTE-A service with speeds up to 300Mbps. With their LTE-A Cat 6 offering, Singtel currently offers the world’s fastest internet for a smart phone. As comparison, South Korea’s SK Telecom’s LTE-A network was launched with up to 150Mbps speeds.
In terms of coverage, Singtel claims to have upgraded most of its network with 55% LTE-A coverage on the city state with areas including Orchard, the CBD, Shenton Way, City Hall, Ang Mo Kio, Tampines, Jurong, Telok Blangah and Woodlands. They are targeting to achieve nationwide outdoor coverage by Q1 2015.
With higher speeds, you would need a different variant of 4G LTE devices that can support 300Mbps downloads. When the LTE-A service goes live this Saturday on 23rd August, Singtel is offering the Samsung Galaxy S5 4G+ variant for S$688 and there are contract options where it is bundled for free. Next month, they will be adding the Samsung Galaxy Alpha 4G+ to its 4G LTE-A bundle line up.
The rumours are not true, there will not be an upmarket version of the Galaxy S5 but there is an updated version. Samsung today lifted the covers off the Galaxy S5 LTE-A created specifically for the South Korea market. In addition to the faster connectivity (up to 255Mbps on LTE-A, almost three times faster then LTE), the new phone features a higher resolution display and a faster processor.
The 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display gets a pixel bump pushing a of 2560×1440 pixels and a pixel density of 576ppi (versus 1080p on the standard Galaxy S5) . The new screen also has better colour reproduction (Samsung claims the display covers 90% of the color gamut), faster response time, and better contrast ratio (0.01ms response time and 100,000:1 contrast ratio respectively).
The Galaxy S5 LTE-A is also the first smartphone in the world to come with the latest Snapdragon 805 processor. The processor has 4 cores running at 2.5GHz and is mated to 3GB of RAM.
Other than that, everything else about the Galaxy S5 LTE-A is unchanged from the original Galaxy S5 including the 16MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, heart rate and fingerprint sensor as well a dust and water resistant shell. The 2,800mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat is the same as well.
The Galaxy S5 LTE-A is available for South Korea only at the moment and it sells for 940,500 Won which is about RM2,970 — pricey.
|Android, Mobile Devices, Mobile OS, Samsung|
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The Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime or also known as the Galaxy F series has been speculated for quite a while now. According to a fresh report, the upcoming device apparently is going to be called as Galaxy S5 LTE-A which is sold exclusively through SK Telecom on the 19th June.
Instead of the speculated 5.2″ display, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A will be having the same 5.1″ display size as the Galaxy S5 but pushes Quad HD instead of the standard Full HD resolution. If you look closely at the teaser image above, you can spot a very fine WQHD in the Super AMOLED logo which confirms the Quad HD resolution of 2560×1440. The report also added that it will be powered by a newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 and it is likely to be mated with a more generous 3GB RAM as well.
So far there’s no word if such smart phone will be available outside of South Korea. In the past, we’ve seen 2 different speculations with one that looks like the Galaxy S5 with a perforated back and another version by @EVleaks which reveals a brushed metal back design. If the Galaxy Note 4 is taking too long to launch, Samsung might just release it internationally as a stop gap measure to counter competing smart phones with Quad HD displays.
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Just recently, Samsung is said to be working with yet another variant of the Galaxy S4. While we are starting to get a taste of LTE, the folks at Korea are stepping up to faster LTE Advanced which delivers 2 to 3 times faster speeds than current LTE networks. Obviously trying to ride on the high speed wave, Samsung is expected to announce a LTE-A version of their current flagship device, adding yet another number to their multiple variant product.
The LTE-A variant not only gets a faster network support but its internals are rumoured to get a boost with a new quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor that’s also found in the recently launched Xperia Z Ultra. In terms of colours, it is spotted with Artic Blue and Aurora Red.
No doubt, the move of releasing yet another model would disappoint early S4 adopters but it seems that Samsung is simply churning too many models in such a short time. It is quite unlikely we would be seeing the S4 LTE-A model making its way to Malaysia soon as our current LTE roll out is still in its early stage. Another shot of the Galaxy S4 LTE-A variant after the break.
All around the world, there has been a long debate as to what is 4G. Is it LTE or is it WiMAX? Well, as it turns out, technically neither are. The UN sanctioned International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have issued a release outlining specifically what is 4G.
We’re sad to inform that right now, the current iteration of WiMAX and LTE that’s commercially available around the world does not cut the mustard.
The ITU defines 4G as wireless networks using either LTE-Advanced or WiMAX 2 running the 802.16m standard. Right now in Malaysia, the WiMAX touting to be 4G operators are running on WiMAX 802.16e and this falls out of the ITU’s classification of 4G. On the same note, there’s no commercial LTE network currently available.
So what does this mean to the layman? Nothing actually. Honestly we think people don’t really care what technology they get their wireless broadband on. What’s important is is that it’s fast, stable and affordable. So telcos don’t get caught up in all the mumbo jumbo and focus on delivering a good broadband service ok.
Head on after the jump for the official release from ITU.