Malaysia's 5G delay can let telcos build up mobile market: Report

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Locals in a Malaysian fishing village, where the roads are not accessible to cars. Fitch analysts have highlighted the mobile telecom market in rural Malaysia.
SEPTEMBER 09, 2020 - 5:29 PM

MALAYSIA will lag its regional peers in the roll-out of 5G wireless services, but telecom operators will benefit from the expansion of 4G and fibre networks in the meantime.

Fitch Solutions analysts have welcomed the Malaysian government’s decision to push a 5G launch to 2022, even though that puts its timeline behind Singapore and Thailand.

“We view the scenario as positive for operators, given that there is still scope to further monetise existing 4G networks, and migrate 2G and 3G subscribers to 4G,” the analysts said in an industry report, highlighting the mobile market opportunity in rural Malaysia.

The latest delay will give 3G operators such as Maxis, Celcom and Digi time to save the cash for 5G capex, even as they grow more robust 4G offerings, the report added.

It singled out rural areas with low population density, such as the eastern peninsula and parts of Sabah and Sarawak, as beneficiaries of increased investment in 4G services.

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“Overall, we believe that Malaysia is well-positioned to harness the power of these new-generation technologies,” the Fitch team wrote, highlighting digital economy opportunities such as smart city infrastructure and business transformation.