Malaysia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Malaysia. Subjects covered include:


  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Regulatory Environment and Development;
  • Major Telecom Players (mobile, fixed);
  • Infrastructure;
  • Digital Media;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Market;
  • Internet, including VoIP and IPTV;
  • Broadband (fixed, wireless, mobile);
  • Scenario Forecasts (fixed-line, mobile, broadband subscribers).

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- October 2014 (20th Edition)

Executive Summary

Malaysia achieving large scale access to broadband as household penetration nears 70%

There has been strong growth in Malaysia’s telecom sector over the last decade, but the growth has not been consistent across the sector. The number of fixed-line services, after growing rapidly at first, had been relatively static for around ten years; then we saw clear evidence of a shrinking subscriber base. The mobile market by contrast has been more spectacular, racing to around 45 million subscribers by early 2014, a penetration approaching 150%; this was up from just 6 million mobile subscribers in 2000. After starting off slowly, broadband internet has been expanding strongly in recent years and by early 2014 had reached a remarkable 67% household penetration.

Over the last two decades Malaysia has been working towards a clear national objective to see it ranked as a fully developed nation by the year 2020. This Vision 2020 was a concept introduced by the former Prime Minister Mr Mahathir in 1991 when he launched the Sixth Malaysia Plan. The task of building an advanced telecom sector has been regarded as central to achieving this national objective. It has also been a matter of national pride. For a period in the 1990s the country was busy promoting itself as a regional high technology hub. In recent times, however, it has adopted a quieter profile and simply gone about the task of putting what might be described as a technologically progressive economy in place. With the widespread application of modern technologies such as fibre optics, wireless transmission, digitalisation and satellite services, Malaysia has been steadily moving towards achieving its national goals.

The generally strong growth across the country’s telecom sector inevitably brought with it considerable investment interest and activity. The telecommunication sector in Malaysia has seen a general opening up and expansion of the market with a significant number of new licences being granted. While still in ongoing expansion mode Malaysia’s telecom sector has undergone some important restructuring. This has involved the regulator progressively introducing reforms. In the meantime, the telecom companies have been doing battle in an increasingly competitive and changing market. The last decade or so has seen healthy overall growth in Malaysia’s telecom sector. At the same time, substantial government participation in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) development has also been a particular characteristic of the Malaysian market.

The developmental effort in the telecom sector has been led by a booming mobile market, although subscriber growth has slowed somewhat. More recently, a major move by the operators into mobile broadband has seen vigorous growth in the market, with strengthening ARPUs. The momentum surrounding mobile broadband was set to continue with the issue of multiple 4G/LTE licences in late 2012 and the launch of a series of advanced mobile broadband networks in 2013.

The fixed-line market by contrast has moved along a much more subdued path. The number of fixed-line subscribers having peaked in 2010, the market has gone into a steady decline. There were no real signs that the fixed-line market was going to pick up again, this despite the government still having some rather ambitious targets in place. The national fixed-line network nevertheless remains an important element in the building and ongoing operation of the country’s telecom infrastructure.

As already noted, the adoption of broadband internet has been the big news in Malaysia over the last few years. Finally the long awaited surge in internet demand has arrived, this happening after a period of slower than expected development. High speed broadband first started to take off in 2008; by early 2014 there were over six million broadband subscribers with around 60% of these being wireless-based. The arrival of wireless broadband overwhelmed a market previously dominated by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. Telekom Malaysia had been the dominant broadband service provider. Even this was being challenged as the market opened up and mobile broadband became more widespread. At the same time fibre-based broadband services have also started to impact the market.

The country’s broadband strategy was given a major boost when the government chose Telekom Malaysia to roll out a National Broadband Network (NBN). In what was referred to as the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project, Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been busy building a fibre-based open system. In late 2013, as part of its 2014 budget announcement, the government committed a further US$1 billion for the second phase of the HSBB project.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
      • 1.1.1 Background
      • 1.1.2 Economy
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview
    • 2.2 Tenth Malaysia Plan and ICT
    • 2.3 Background to development
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Regulatory authority
      • 3.1.1 Telecom legislation
      • 3.1.2 Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)
      • 3.1.3 MCMC policy
    • 3.2 Privatisation and liberalisation
    • 3.3 Universal Service Provision (USP)
    • 3.4 Licences
    • 3.5 Regulatory developments
      • 3.5.1 Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcasting (DTTB)
      • 3.5.2 Investigation into business activity by Maxis in India
      • 3.5.3 Regulator’s appeal to online users
      • 3.5.4 Alcatel-Lucent bribery case
      • 3.5.5 Allocation of 700MHz frequency spectrum
      • 3.5.6 Allocation of 2.6GHz frequency spectrum
      • 3.5.7 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 3.5.8 Quality of Service (QoS)
  • 4. Major Operators
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Statistics
    • 4.3 Telekom Malaysia
      • 4.3.1 Overview
      • 4.3.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.3.3 Financial performance
      • 4.3.4 Background
      • 4.3.5 Fixed-line services
      • 4.3.6 Broadband
      • 4.3.7 Celcom/Telekom Malaysia merger
    • 4.4 Axiata
      • 4.4.1 Overview
      • 4.4.2 Tower assets
      • 4.4.3 Corporate structure
      • 4.4.4 Financial performance
      • 4.4.5 Operations
    • 4.5 Celcom
      • 4.5.1 Overview
      • 4.5.2 Operating statistics
      • 4.5.3 Business strategies
      • 4.5.4 3G development
      • 4.5.5 Network development
      • 4.5.6 Altel
    • 4.6 Maxis Communications
      • 4.6.1 Overview
      • 4.6.2 Financial performance
      • 4.6.3 Background
      • 4.6.4 Maxis/Time merger
      • 4.6.5 IPO
      • 4.6.6 Mobile services
      • 4.6.7 Fixed services
    • 4.7 Digi Communications
      • 4.7.1 Overview
      • 4.7.2 Operating statistics
      • 4.7.3 Financial performance
      • 4.7.4 Background
      • 4.7.5 Development
      • 4.7.6 Business strategies
      • 4.7.7 3G - licensing and development
      • 4.7.8 4G / LTE
      • 4.7.9 Fixed-line and other services
    • 4.8 U Mobile
      • 4.8.1 Overview
      • 4.8.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.8.3 Operational statistics
      • 4.8.4 Service launch
      • 4.8.5 Network development
    • 4.9 Time dotCom
      • 4.9.1 Overview
      • 4.9.2 Background
      • 4.9.3 Corporate structure
      • 4.9.4 Financials
      • 4.9.5 3G licence
      • 4.9.6 Fixed network
      • 4.9.7 Broadband
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 National telecom network development
      • 5.2.1 Fixed-line networks
      • 5.2.2 Sharing / leasing of infrastructure
      • 5.2.3 Fibre optic backbones
      • 5.2.4 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
    • 5.3 High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network
      • 5.3.1 Telekom Malaysia’s HSBB project
      • 5.3.2 Other HSBB proposals
    • 5.4 International infrastructure
      • 5.4.1 International gateways
      • 5.4.2 Malaysia-Thailand
      • 5.4.3 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.4.4 Submarine system developments
      • 5.4.5 Proposed submarine cable networks
      • 5.4.6 Satellite networks
    • 5.5 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
      • 6.1.1 National Broadband Plan (NBP)
      • 6.1.2 Background to broadband development
      • 6.1.3 Bandwidth capacity consortium
      • 6.1.4 Tablets
    • 6.2 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 6.3 High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network
      • 6.3.1 Background
      • 6.3.2 Commercial launch and operation
      • 6.3.3 Second phase
      • 6.3.4 Regional comparison
      • 6.3.5 Pahang project
    • 6.4 Development of internet in Malaysia
      • 6.4.1 Overview
      • 6.4.2 Background
      • 6.4.3 Malaysian Internet Exchange (MIX)
      • 6.4.4 Other developments
      • 6.4.5 Government control
      • 6.4.6 E-Government
    • 6.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
    • 6.6 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
    • 6.7 Wireless broadband
      • 6.7.1 Background development
      • 6.7.2 WiMAX: 2.3GHz licences
      • 6.7.3 WiMAX: other developments
      • 6.7.4 WiMAX operators
    • 6.8 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
    • 6.9 Internet via satellite
  • 7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 7.1 Broadcasting market
      • 7.1.1 Overview
      • 7.1.2 Regulatory environment
      • 7.1.3 Digital TV
      • 7.1.4 Cable TV
      • 7.1.5 Satellite TV
      • 7.1.6 Interactive TV (iTV)
      • 7.1.7 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
    • 7.2 Free-to-Air TV
      • 7.2.1 Background
      • 7.2.2 Free-to-Air major players
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
    • 8.3 Mobile infrastructure
    • 8.4 Regulatory developments
      • 8.4.1 International roaming
      • 8.4.2 Service tax on prepaid services
    • 8.5 Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • 8.5.1 Background
      • 8.5.2 Bidding and auction
      • 8.5.3 Network planning and development
      • 8.5.4 Service launch
      • 8.5.5 Further development
    • 8.6 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
    • 8.7 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.8 Mobile voice services
      • 8.8.1 Prepaid services
      • 8.8.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 8.9 Mobile data services
      • 8.9.1 Short Message Services (SMS)
      • 8.9.2 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.9.3 Mobile TV/Video-on-Demand (VoD)
      • 8.9.4 Blackberry
    • 8.10 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.10.1 M-commerce (micropayments)
      • 8.10.2 Airline services
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • 9.2 Forecasts – broadband internet services – 2015; 2020
    • 9.3 Forecasts – mobile services – 2015; 2020
    • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2014
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – March 2014
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
    • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – March 2014
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics - March 2014
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
    • Table 7 – Malaysia’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 8 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2012
    • Table 9 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2013
    • Table 10 - Total mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2012
    • Table 11 -Total mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2013
    • Table 12 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share by operator – March 2013
    • Table 13 – Telekom Malaysia’s revenue share by product segment – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 14 – Telekom Malaysia’s ARPU - by service category – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 15 – Telekom Malaysia’s capital expenditure – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 16 – Telekom Malaysia’s fixed-line subscribers – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 17 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2014
    • Table 18 – TM’s broadband subscribers – FttX v. DSL - 2013 - 2014
    • Table 19 – TM’s UniFi broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 20 – TMNet broadband subscribers – business v. residential – September 2013
    • Table 21 – Axiata’s total mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 22 – Celcom mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2014
    • Table 23 – Celcom – prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2011 - 2014
    • Table 24 – Celcom ARPU – prepaid and postpaid – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 25 – Celcom’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 26 – Celcom’s mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 27 – Maxis capital expenditure – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 28 – Maxis mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 29 – Maxis 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 30 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid, postpaid, – June 2013
    • Table 31 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid, postpaid, – June 2014
    • Table 32 – Maxis mobile ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, wireless and blended – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 33 – Maxis’ wireless broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 34 – DiGi mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 35 – DiGi’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 36 – DiGi’s mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid – June 2014
    • Table 37 – DiGi’s ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, blended – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 38 – DiGi’s mobile internet subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 39 – DiGi capital expenditure – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 40 – DiGi service revenue – proportion of voice v. data – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 41 – U Mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 42 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2014
    • Table 43 – Fixed-line household penetration rate – 2000 - 2014
    • Table 44 – NBP broadband penetration targets – 2007 - 2010
    • Table 45 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2014
    • Table 46 – Total broadband subscribers and household penetration – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 47 – Broadband subscribers by access type – March 2014
    • Table 48 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 49 – Fixed broadband subscribers and households – 2013
    • Table 50 – Internet users and penetration – 1995 - 2014
    • Table 51 – Total internet subscribers – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 52 – Dial-up internet subscribers – 1995 - 2009
    • Table 53 – Total international internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2014
    • Table 54 – UniFi broadband subscribers and premises passed – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 55 – DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2013
    • Table 56 – FttX subscribers – 2001 - 2013
    • Table 57 – Wireless hotspots and hotspot subscribers – 2005 – 2014
    • Table 58 – Packet One WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 59 – YTL’s WiMAX subscribers – 2011 - 2013
    • Table 60 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2013
    • Table 61 – Broadcasting sector households by technology and revenue – 1997 - 2012
    • Table 62 – Astro DTH pay TV subscribers – 2003 - 2013
    • Table 63 – Astro pay TV ARPU – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 64 – IPTV subscribers – household v. non-household - 2010 - 2014
    • Table 65 – Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate – 1995 - 2014
    • Table 66 – Mobile services revenues – 1993 - 2013
    • Table 67 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2012
    • Table 68 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2013
    • Table 69 -Total mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2013
    • Table 70 – Mobile prepaid, postpaid and blended ARPU by operator – 2013
    • Table 71 – 3G mobile subscribers and market share – 2006 – 2009; 2012 - 2013
    • Table 72 – Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2014
    • Table 73 – SMS volume and subscriber ratio – 2002 - 2014
    • Table 74 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 75 – Forecast broadband internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 76 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Chart 1 - Malaysia's GDP real growth rate - 2006-2015
    • Chart 2 - Fixed and Mobile subscribers in Malaysia: 2000 - 2014
    • Chart 3 - Mobile subscribers market share by operator - 2013
    • Chart 4 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share by operator - March 2013
    • Chart 5 - Telekom Malaysia's revenue share by product segment - 2008-2014
    • Chart 6 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers - 2004-2014
    • Chart 7 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2000 – 2014
    • Chart 8 - Total broadband subscribers and household penetration - 2009-2014
    • Chart 9 - Internet users and penetration 2005-2014
    • Chart 10 - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2014
    • Chart 11 - Mobile services revenues – 2003 - 2013
    • Chart 12 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006-2013
    • Chart 13 - Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers - 2002-2014
    • Exhibit 1 – Telekom Malaysia at a glance - 2013
    • Exhibit 2 – Telekom Malaysia’s top 10 shareholders – March 2014
    • Exhibit 3 – Axiata’s major shareholders – August 2013
    • Exhibit 4 – Maxis at a glance - 2013
    • Exhibit 5 – DiGi at a glance - 2013
    • Exhibit 6 – DiGi’s top 10 shareholders – November 2013
    • Exhibit 7 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in Malaysia - 2014
    • Exhibit 8 – Malaysia’s ICT rankings – 2008 - 2012
    • Exhibit 9 – Overview of major Malaysian broadcasters and their channels
    • Exhibit 10 – Overview of programming

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