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Malaysia leads regional 5G rollout, tops neighbours in network performance

Malaysia continues to surpass its regional counterparts in the roll out of the 5G network, beating neighbouring countries in terms of network performance, consistency score and download speed.

In its latest analysis, Ookla Research said the country’s 5G network has consistently performed well, making it one of the best-performing networks worldwide, since its launch more than two years ago.

“Malaysia continues to outperform other South-East Asian countries in 5G network performance despite the expected decrease in performance due to more user adoption and congestion,” it said in its fourth-quarter 2023 (4Q23) Speedtest Intelligence® report.

The country’s 5G median download speed of 451.79 megabits per second (Mbps) is higher than Singapore’s 329.73 Mbps, Thailand’s 129.40 Mbps and the Philippines’ 125.14 Mbps.

Ookla Research noted the present 4G network still falls short of the significant uplift in performance offered by 5G, which can enhance the user experience even further, despite being able to meet users’ needs for daily tasks such as browsing, streaming and online communication.

“While median 5G speed is a useful measure to gauge the midpoint of the user experience on 5G networks, it does not provide a complete picture of the actual improvement over 4G.

“To demonstrate the improvements Malaysia’s 5G network provides, we compared 5G download speeds in the bottom 10th percentile of our 5G results with the median download speed on 4G long-term evolution.

“The results showed that the lower 10% of 5G speeds outperform median 4G download speeds by at least five times. When we compare 5G and 4G median download speeds, Malaysia’s median 5G download speed of 451.79 Mbps was 12 times faster than that of 4G,” the report revealed.

Further, Malaysia’s 5G network also achieved the highest 5G consistency score globally for the period at 97.3%, with the other top countries being North Macedonia (94.1%) and the United Arab Emirates (93.9%).

Nevertheless, while there is steady improvement in 5G availability, Ookla Research said the adoption of 5G in the country still needs to catch up with other markets.

In 2023, 5G availability in Malaysia posted a gradual increase every quarter, beginning from 20.9% in 1Q23 and increasing to 26.9% in 4Q23.

“This six percentage point increase could be attributed to Digital Nasional Bhd’s active expansion of 5G coverage. The increase was stimulated by greater smartphone availability and the introduction of new 5G plans by operators,” it said. The Star

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