Malaysia Shines Bright with Fastest 5G Download Speeds in Asia Pacific

Malaysia Shines Bright with Fastest 5G Download Speeds in Asia Pacific

A recent study conducted by Ookla, the company behind the popular Speedtest website, has revealed that the Asia Pacific region is on its way to becoming the largest 5G market in the world. More surprisingly, Malaysia was found to be at the top of the average 5G download speed category across the Asia Pacific market. According to Ookla Insights, the average speed will be comparable to European benchmarks by the first half of 2023. 

Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital, Teo Nie Ching, cited the report, stating that Malaysia recorded an average 5G download speed of 512.10 megabits per second (Mbps), surpassing countries such as South Korea with a speed of 503.99 Mbps and Singapore with a speed of 387.15 Mbps.

Ookla has recognized an impressive achievement for Malaysia, considering that the country launched 5G technology 3.5 years after South Korea, but still managed to catch up in terms of performance.

According to the report, there are stark differences in the telecom landscapes of the two countries. The Malaysian government has chosen the Single Wholesale National Network (SWN) approach as its 5G deployment plan. In 2021, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) will be established to develop and operate the 5G network infrastructure and provide 5G services to mobile network operators at wholesale prices.

Meanwhile, several other countries in the Asia-Pacific region also achieved 5G average download speeds of more than 200 Mbps, including Singapore, India, New Zealand, China and Australia.

These figures are impressive considering the situation in Europe, where France was the only country to record average speeds above 200 Mbps. Meanwhile, countries such as Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain recorded average speeds of less than 150 Mbps.

Additionally, the results showed that Kuala Lumpur tied with Seoul for the top spot in terms of 5G download speed in the first half of 2023. Seoul had an average download speed of 533.95 Mbps, while Kuala Lumpur had an average speed of 523.44 Mbps. By the end of 2022, DNB, a 5G wholesale provider in Malaysia, reported that 5G coverage reached 90 percent in Kuala Lumpur's densely populated areas (COPAs).

However, the study shows that there are still challenges to overcome in Malaysia, particularly in terms of coverage and adoption of 5G technology. In terms of 5G service availability in the first half of 2023, Malaysia ranks second to last behind India, with only about 8.6 percent availability. Meanwhile, Hong Kong (42.3 percent), Australia (36.6 percent), and South Korea (35.3 percent) posted impressive coverage scores to take the top three spots in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nevertheless, Teo said the company is well underway toward reaching 80% of the country's population with 5G coverage by the end of this year. 

In general, the benefits of 5G are not limited to higher speeds than 4G, but also play a role in bringing connectivity to underserved areas. Meanwhile, the adoption of 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services is on the rise in the Asia-Pacific region, with Southeast Asia leading the way. 

In 2019, Globe Telecom in the Philippines became the first country in the region to launch FWA services. Other operators in the region, such as Telkomsel in Indonesia and AIS in Thailand, have also begun offering FWA services.

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