The 2nd phase of the MRT Line 1 is now open and this includes an underground section that goes through the heart of KL city. When Digi invited us for a 4G Underground MRT challenge earlier this week, we thought why not we test out 4 of our big telcos in Malaysia? So we did.
For consistency, we used the honor 8 Pro for all 4 telcos – Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile. The device supports carrier aggregation so it can maximise each network’s potential if it’s supported. We used prepaid SIMs from each telco with sufficient high-speed quota to ensure that there’s no throttling during the test.
For network speed measurement, we have used Ookla’s Speedtest with Telekom Malaysia as the fixed server on all devices. On top of that, we also ran OpenSignal’s TRUE Speedtest which claims to reflect real speeds you get on a network. According to OpenSignal, these tests measure full end to end connectivity to servers like Google, Amazon and Akamai which supposedly reflect real world usage.
The test route covers 7 underground stations namely Muzium Negara, Pasar Seni, Merdeka, Bukit Bintang, Tun Razak Exchange, Cochrane and Maluri. The Tun Razak Exchange MRT station at 45m under ground is the deepest on the network, followed by Bukit Bintang at 33.4m deep.
According to the folks at Digi, users underground are connected on the 2600MHz spectrum and Digi works closely with the MRT project’s technology partner for its underground coverage. We’ve spoken to U Mobile as well and it seems that all telcos are working with the same partner which provides the wireless infrastructure. The key difference probably lies on how each telco optimises its network and resources.