KUALA LUMPUR – Telecommunications operators Celcom Axiata Berhad, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Berhad, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Berhad and TIME dotCom Berhad, announced in a joint statement that they are fully committed to partner with the Government and make connectivity a basic utility to fast-track Malaysia’s transition into a high-income digital society.
The Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) action plan announced recently by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Yassin, will be the platform to achieve these aspirations by accelerating the country’s digital connectivity through widespread deployment of mobile, fibre and fixed wireless access, and paving the way to 5G, under the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021–2025).
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an urgency for Malaysia to address the ‘new normal’ and cater for future demands of connectivity as an enabler for all facets of life: The economy and people’s livelihoods, education, business opportunities and building and connecting communities amongst others.
To this end, the Industry was a strong participant alongside the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in the National Digital Infrastructure Lab (NDIL), with the aim to collaboratively address how to deliver quality connectivity to all Malaysians.
The outcome of the NDIL was a comprehensive digital infrastructure plan that accelerates improvements to coverage and quality of experience nationwide, optimises fixed, mobile and fit-for-purpose technologies; and paves the way for the eventual adoption of 5G technologies to enable the country’s digital ambitions.
As announced by the Prime Minister, JENDELA will be implemented in phases. Phase 1, which starts now until 2022, will optimise existing resources and infrastructure for both mobile and fixed connectivity to:
- Expand 4G mobile broadband coverage from 91.8% to 96.9% in populated areas;
- Increase mobile broadband speeds from 25Mbps to 35Mbps; and
- Enable as many as 7.5 million premises to access gigabit speeds with fixed broadband services.
JENDELA will firstly prioritise strengthening the nation’s existing fixed and mobile networks and building a strong foundation for the eventual adoption of 5G. This will also involve the gradual retirement of 3G networks at the end of 2021. To achieve the targets in Phase 1, the Industry will look at providing wider coverage and enhanced quality of experience by upgrading and building new 4G sites, and fiberising more premises.
This will be driven by extending 4G mobile coverage in rural and remote areas, improving in-door coverage for urban and suburban areas, connecting more homes with fixed broadband via fibre and other fit-for-purpose technologies (e.g. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and satellite) to ensure widespread nationwide coverage and connectivity for all.
Meanwhile, fibre providers will continue to support the industry with fibre backhaul for capacity to serve higher traffic demands expected on 4G and to ensure the fibre foundation essential for future technologies such as 5G.
Phase 2 of JENDELA involves utilising FWA and other fit-for-purpose technologies to address further gaps in the digital divide, as well as priming for the nation’s eventual adoption of 5G technologies; which will take place once action plans under Phase 1 are achieved.
“The Industry will continue to educate the public on the potential of 5G and its capabilities, through use cases applied across verticals such as manufacturing, agriculture, education, healthcare, security transportation, consumer experience, environment and smart city development. These use cases will continue to be explored under the 5G Demonstration Projects (5GDP),” the statement reads.
JENDELA is an accelerated improvement plan where all public and private stakeholders are equally invested to deliver. This is a shared aspiration for the whole country, driven by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) and MCMC in partnership with the telecommunications operators, and other agencies at the federal, state, and local council levels.