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MCO: What are Malaysian telcos doing with the RM400 mil investment?

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has revealed that demand for bandwidth in Malaysia has surged as more people are staying at home during the Movement Control Order. Data consumption has increased by 23.5% nationwide during the first week of the MCO and it has increased by another 8.6% in the second week.

Increase in data consumption causes congestion

The MCMC has acknowledged that the increase of data consumption causes congestion and this has affected user experience. They noted that users may experience longer loading times, especially when viewing bandwidth-intensive content such as HD videos.

According to Opensignal’s recent report, the average 4G download speed in Malaysia has dropped from 13.3Mbps before the MCO was announced, to just 8.8Mbps. This is a speed decrease of 34%, and it is the highest drop in the region.

It is also worth mentioning that all major telcos in Malaysia are currently providing free data daily during the MCO period. The initiative which is valued at RM600 million is aimed at keeping Malaysians connected and to stay informed. In a separate Opensignal report, the average Malaysian connects via mobile data almost 70% of the time instead of WiFi during the MCO.

Infrastructure upgrades

It is clear that internet infrastructure is vital as it allows Malaysians to continue to work, learn, communicate and to enable the delivery of essential goods and services. As announced by the Prime Minister, RM400 million will be invested by telcos for infrastructure and network upgrades. According to the MCMC, the telcos will be investing in the following activities:

  • Perform network optimisation and increase radio capacity at areas with high utilisation
  • Perform traffic readjustment to cater to rising bandwidth demand at residential premises
  • Upgrade wireless backhaul to fibre optic connections
  • Increasing domestic trunk capacities including laying new fibre optic infrastructure, increasing interconnect bandwidth and releasing reserved capacities
  • Increasing international link capacities
  • Mobilising portable base stations and providing WiFi to manage network traffic at critical areas
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The MCMC said that they are working closely with the telcos to monitor the network performance and to facilitate any challenges on the ground by telcos in performing their job to deploy additional infrastructure and to main the sites. This include obtaining approvals from authorities.

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Alexander Wong