M’sia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5g demo projects
Published on: Monday, October 07, 2019
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MANCHESTER: Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month.

However, GSM Association (GSMA) Director-General Mats Granryd said Malaysia should take gradual and cautious steps in embarking on 5G to have more room and time to experiment and learn from countries which are already in the advanced phase of the 5G roll-out.

“It is not necessary to be the first (in implementing 5G). Maybe Malaysia can be number two or three as it gives more room to learn from others’ mistakes.

“But Malaysia should not take a wait-and-see approach either in pursuing 5G, although the technology is not widely available yet, as the adoption process could stretch out for years,” he told Bernama.

GSMA is a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.

Recently, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said that the 5G demonstration projects will be conducted at 32 5G sites across six states - Kedah, Perak, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

Granryd said the 5G technology would provide firm support for daily activities, allow smooth business transactions and be more economical, as maintenance for 3G technology would be expensive over time with the rapid advancement in global technology.

“3G maintenance is more expensive than 5G because it is an old technology. The higher the G, the more efficient it becomes due to more built-in intelligent solutions.

“Eventually vendors would stop manufacturing 3G and possibly 2G technology products, so from that perspective, it will be more complicated to do maintenance for the network,” he added. 

From the global perspective, Granryd said that operators are slowly phasing out 2G and some of their 3G network infrastructure to keep up with technological advancements. 

“2G network only offers good connectivity from the voice perspective whereas 3G technology is in between 2G and 4G. Hence, some operators have decided to shut down 3G and focus on 4G, and that could be the way forward for Malaysia,” he said.

The network upgrade is essential to support the growing number of devices demanding Internet access, many of which require a certain amount of bandwidth to function normally, and 4G simply does not cut it anymore, he said.

“5G networks can more easily understand the type of data being requested, and are able to switch into  lower power mode when not in use, and to switch to a higher power mode for things like high definition video streaming,” said Granryd.

Asked on Malaysia’s readiness in terms of infrastructure and demand for 5G, he emphasised that 3G and 4G infrastructure and network must be maintained before deploying 5G as it is not a standalone technology.

“You must possess a 4G network before being able to deploy 5G. Hence, building up the 4G network is as important as 5G,” he said, suggesting that Malaysia should concurrently deploy interesting 4G applications (apps) for the benefit of consumers, industry and the society.

Granryd also opined that Malaysia should promote collaborations between operators to develop apps.

Meanwhile, he said that GSMA has engaged with the Malaysian entrepreneurs, ministries and industry players early this year to get a good understanding on what is happening in Malaysia. – Bernama



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