By Digital News Asia January 3, 2020
- Massive endeavours set to be foundations of a digitally competitive country
- National Digital ID framework coming, NFCP and 5G rollout complementary initiatives
Undoubtedly all the attention in the Malaysian telco world is on the new year eve’s released Final Report on the Allocation of Spectrum Bands for Mobile Broadband Service in Malaysia, and rightly so. Still, it is note worthy to recall some other key highlights of 2019 in the Malaysian telco space from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) which issued a press release highlighting when it embarked on strategic roll-outs of key initiatives to enhance digitalisation and connectivity in Malaysia.
Major milestones have included the launching of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in Sept 2019, the showcase and demonstration of the fifth-generation mobile technology or 5G Malaysia in April 2019, the commencement of the National Digital Identity framework study in Nov 2019 as well as the historical analogue television switch-off in Oct 2019.
MCMC points to successfully executing strategic initiatives amid the challenging economic environment both at home and abroad, thanks to the collective efforts from all related stakeholders, including the public. Among the 2019 success stories was the enforcement of the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), which reduced the pricing of entry-level high speed broadband packages by more than 40%, surpassing the initial target of 25%.
This initiative benefited millions of Malaysian households and businesses, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises. Besides the MSAP, the service providers had also taken the opportunity to offer higher broadband speed with the same or even lower prices to new and existing customers in line with Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo’s mantra of “double the speed; half the price”.
The five-year NFCP was launched on 19 Sept to further enhance digital connectivity in the country and ensure essential infrastructure in place to offer a robust, pervasive, affordable and high quality digital connectivity to every Malaysian.
Significant collaborative efforts were put together in realising the seven key targets of NFCP. The first batch of NFCP projects will be awarded to successful licensees this month, marking the beginning of NFCP implementation.
Malaysia has emerged as a frontrunner in introducing 5G in the ASEAN region with 55 use cases demonstrated in 32 locations in six states across the country as of 30 Sept 2019. Malaysia remains on track for 5G commercialisation in second half of 2020, as demand for ultra-fast connectivity is increasing in tandem with global macroeconomic development. Singapore will also launch its 5G commercial service this year.
Helping to create greater public awareness of 5G, MCMC organised in April a 5G Showcase in Putrajaya that gave Malaysians the opportunity to view first-hand benefits of 5G and the way it influences the lives of the people. 5G is expected to benefit all industries, particularly the agriculture, automotive, education, healthcare, manufacturing, media and entertainment sectors.
Commencement of National Digital Identity study
Another key milestone announced in 2019 was the commencement of the National Digital Identity (NDID) study. The government has entrusted MCMC to propose a safe and secure National Digital ID framework, which followed with numerous engagement with relevant parties held throughout the year. After the stringent procurement process, a consultant was appointed to conduct a comprehensive National Digital ID study within a 7.5 months period from 21 November 2019.
The study will focus on determining an appropriate implementation model, cost benefit analysis and implementation strategy that would serve the collective interest of the people, businesses and the Government.
ASO is here – finally
The completion of analogue switch-off (ASO) under the National Broadcasting Digitalisation Project was a historical moment for both MCMC and Malaysia. The final ASO in Sabah and Sarawak on 31 Oct 2019, marked the official replacement of the traditional analogue terrestrial TV with the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).
The ASO was aimed at catering better television transmission quality for Malaysians. About two million free myFreeview decoders were distributed to selected B40 recipients.
“MCMC is cognisant of the current challenges and technological developments that continue to be disruptive across all sectors. Thus, as we kick-start the new decade, there are more initiatives that we are currently looking at such as the rolling out of 5G by third quarter of 2020. These are massive endeavours that are set to be the cornerstone of the country, as it marches into the next decade and a vital foundation for us to remain economically competitive – in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030,” said Chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak.