Govt to expedite 4G network to lay down strong foundation for 5G rollout

Govt to expedite 4G network to lay down strong foundation for 5G rollout
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 1): Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the government will expedite the improvement of connectivity for both fibre optic and 4G network to ensure people can access the most up to date networks, according to the Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

At the same time, the government's focus on optimising 4G access will also mean strengthening the foundation for a 5G rollout, which in turn is to ensure 5G network will be done in an efficient and effective manner.

“Thereby, this benefits consumers without a significant increase in cost of service, with industries being able to roll out their respective solutions utilising 5G and of course for the service providers an expeditious use of the invested network.

"Such a healthy eco-system will contribute significantly to the national agenda of digital Malaysia and thereby the national GDP [gross domestic product],” Saifuddin said in his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2020 themed “Advancing Malaysia: 5G and Industry 4.0, virtual series 3”.

This comes after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) last Saturday (Aug 29), a plan that aims to upgrade Malaysia’s digital communications infrastructure.

To recap, the five-year plan (2021-2025) will be implemented through several phases. Phase 1, which runs from now, involves an expansion of 4G mobile broadband coverage from 91.8% to 96.8% in populated areas. It also aims to increase mobile speeds to 35Mbps from 25Mbps and phase out 3G network by end-2021 and to further consolidate 4G network and strengthen the foundation for 5G network.

Saifuddin also said building a strong foundation for future 5G rollout is vital, specifically for industries needing 5G.

He said this was the reason for having 5G demonstration projects running across the country involving nine verticals, namely agriculture, digital healthcare, education, entertainment/media, manufacturing and processing, oil and gas, smart city, smart transportation and tourism.

“To date, we have 71 5G use cases demonstration led by the private sectors, namely Celcom, Digi, edotco, Maxis, Petronas, Telekom Malaysia, U Mobile, YTL and their ecosystem partners consisting of digital solution providers, ministries, agencies integrators and vendors.

"These use cases are demonstrated across seven states, namely Kedah, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, with a total industry investment of RM131 million. These projects focus on facilitating and cultivating the development of a holistic and inclusive 5G ecosystem, which stimulates the demand as well as adoption,” he added.

Saifuddin said as various industries adopt 5G, it would positively influence other industries’ contribution rate to the GDP effectively and allow the country to produce and manufacture more high quality goods and services, ultimately, benefiting the rakyat with improved earnings and affordability.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said the government will soon announce the latest industrial 4.0 and national digital roadmap within the next few weeks, with the focus on five components — the digital talents development, emerging technology, economies of the whole thing, society and governmental parts of it.

Edited by Surin Murugiah