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:- January 2014 (19th Edition)

Executive Summary

Malaysia quietly succeeding in implementing large scale access to broadband services

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. And the task of building an advanced telecom sector has strong relevance 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 an ongoing expansion mode the 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 with almost 45 million subscribers and a penetration approaching 150% by late 2013. Although subscriber growth has slowed somewhat in recent years, a major move by the operators into mobile broadband has seen vigorous growth in the market, with strengthening ARPUs. The momentum is certain to be maintained with the issue of multiple 4G/LTE licences in late 2012 and the initial launch of a series of advanced mobile broadband networks during 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 start picking 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.

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 had arrived, this happening after a period of slower than expected development. High speed broadband first started to take off in 2008; by late 2013 there were over six million broadband subscribers with two-thirds of these being wireless based.

The arrival of wireless broadband offerings saw these technologies overwhelm a market previously dominated by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. Telekom Malaysia had been the dominant broadband service provider. This was being seriously challenged as the market opened up and mobile broadband became more widespread.

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) was busy building a fibre-based open system. By end-2012 the roll out of Stage 1 had been completed on schedule; the government has approved the funding plan for Stage 2. TM has already signed up almost 600,000 customers to its own HSBB-based UniFi service. Most significantly the HSBB had put Malaysia ahead of countries such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in terms of NBN rollout and especially customer connections; most importantly Malaysia has also been successful in containing costs.

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 Telekom Malaysia
      • 4.2.1 Overview
      • 4.2.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.2.3 Financial performance
      • 4.2.4 Background
      • 4.2.5 Fixed-line services
      • 4.2.6 Broadband
      • 4.2.7 Celcom/Telekom Malaysia merger
    • 4.3 Axiata
      • 4.3.1 Overview
      • 4.3.2 Tower assets
      • 4.3.3 Corporate structure
      • 4.3.4 Financial performance
      • 4.3.5 Operations
    • 4.4 Celcom
      • 4.4.1 Overview
      • 4.4.2 Operating statistics
      • 4.4.3 Business strategies
      • 4.4.4 3G development
      • 4.4.5 Network development
    • 4.5 Maxis Communications
      • 4.5.1 Overview
      • 4.5.2 Financial performance
      • 4.5.3 Background
      • 4.5.4 Maxis/Time merger
      • 4.5.5 IPO
      • 4.5.6 Mobile services
      • 4.5.7 Fixed services
    • 4.6 Digi Communications
      • 4.6.1 Overview
      • 4.6.2 Operating statistics
      • 4.6.3 Financial performance
      • 4.6.4 Background
      • 4.6.5 Development
      • 4.6.6 Business strategies
      • 4.6.7 3G - licensing and development
      • 4.6.8 Fixed-line and other services
    • 4.7 U Mobile
      • 4.7.1 Overview
      • 4.7.2 Corporate structure
      • 4.7.3 Operational statistics
      • 4.7.4 Service launch
      • 4.7.5 Network development
    • 4.8 Time dotCom
      • 4.8.1 Overview
      • 4.8.2 Background
      • 4.8.3 Corporate structure
      • 4.8.4 Financials
      • 4.8.5 3G licence
      • 4.8.6 Fixed network
      • 4.8.7 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 Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) cable
      • 5.4.7 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
    • 6.2 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
    • 6.5 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)
      • 7.1.8 Free-to-Air TV
  • 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 – 2013
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – September 2013
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
    • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – September 2013
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – September 2013
    • 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 – Total mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2012
    • Table 10 – 3G mobile subscribers and market share by operator – March 2013
    • Table 11 – Telekom Malaysia’s revenue share by product segment – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 12 – Telekom Malaysia’s ARPU - by service category – 2011 - 2013
    • Table 13 – Telekom Malaysia’s capital expenditure – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 14 – Telekom Malaysia’s fixed-line subscribers – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 15 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2013
    • Table 16 – TM’s UniFi broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 17 – TMNet broadband subscribers – business v. residential – 2012
    • Table 18 – TMNet broadband subscribers – business v. residential – September 2013
    • Table 19 – Axiata’s total mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 20 – Celcom mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 21 – Celcom – prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2011 - 2013
    • Table 22 – Celcom ARPU – prepaid and postpaid – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 23 – Celcom’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 24 – Celcom’s mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 25 – Maxis capital expenditure – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 26 – Maxis mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
    • Table 27 – Maxis 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 28 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid, postpaid, – June 2013
    • Table 29 – Maxis mobile ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, wireless and blended – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 30 – Maxis’ mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 31 – DiGi mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
    • Table 32 – DiGi’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 33 – DiGi’s mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid – 2012
    • Table 34 – DiGi’s ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, blended – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 35 – DiGi’s mobile internet subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 36 – DiGi capital expenditure – 2006 - 2012
    • Table 37 – DiGi service revenue – proportion of voice v. data – 2009 - 2012
    • Table 38 – U Mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 39 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 40 – Fixed-line household penetration rate – 2000 - 2013
    • Table 41 – NBP broadband penetration targets – 2007 - 2010
    • Table 42 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2013
    • Table 43 – Total broadband subscribers and household penetration – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 44 – Broadband subscribers by access type – September 2013
    • Table 45 – Fixed broadband subscribers and households – 2012
    • Table 46 – Internet users and penetration – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 47 – Total internet subscribers – 1995 - 2012
    • Table 48 – Dial-up internet subscribers – 1995 - 2009
    • Table 49 – Total international internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2013
    • Table 50 – UniFi broadband subscribers and premises passed – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 51 – DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2012
    • Table 52 – Fttx subscribers – 2001 - 2012
    • Table 53 – Wireless hotspots and hotspot subscribers – 2005 – 2013
    • Table 54 – Packet One WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 55 – YTL’s WiMAX subscribers – 2011 - 2012
    • Table 56 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2012
    • Table 57 – Broadcasting sector households by technology and revenue – 1997 - 2012
    • Table 58 – Astro DTH pay TV subscribers – 2003 - 2013
    • Table 59 – IPTV subscribers – 2010 - 2013
    • Table 60 – Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate – 1995 - 2013
    • Table 61 – Mobile services revenues – 1993 - 2012
    • Table 62 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2012
    • Table 63 – Mobile prepaid, postpaid and blended ARPU by operator – 2011
    • Table 64 – 3G mobile subscribers and market share – 2006 – 2009; 2012 - 2013
    • Table 65 – Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2013
    • Table 66 – SMS volume and subscriber ratio – 2002 - 2013
    • Table 67 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 68 – Forecast broadband internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 69 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Chart 1 - Malaysia's GDP real growth rate - 2006-2014
    • Chart 2 - Fixed and Mobile subscribers in Malaysia: 1999 - 2012
    • Chart 3 - Mobile subscribers market share by operator - 2012
    • Chart 4 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share by operator - March 2013
    • Chart 5 - Telekom Malaysia's revenue share by product segment - 2008-2013
    • Chart 6 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers - 2003-2013
    • Chart 7 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2000 – 2013
    • Chart 8 - Total broadband subscribers and household penetration - 2009-2013
    • Chart 9 - Internet users and penetration 2005-2013
    • Chart 10 - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2013
    • Chart 11 - Mobile services revenues - 2000-2012
    • Chart 12 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006-2013
    • Chart 13 - Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers - 2002-2013
    • Exhibit 1 – Telekom Malaysia at a glance - 2012
    • Exhibit 2 – Telekom Malaysia’s top 10 shareholders – March 2013
    • Exhibit 3 – Axiata’s major shareholders – August 2013
    • Exhibit 4 – Maxis at a glance - June 2013
    • Exhibit 5 – DiGi at a glance - 2012
    • Exhibit 6 – DiGi’s top 10 shareholders – November 2013
    • Exhibit 7 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in Malaysia - 2013
    • Exhibit 8 – Malaysia’s ICT rankings – 2008 - 2012
    • Exhibit 9 – Overview of programming
    • Exhibit 10 – Overview of major Malaysian broadcasters and their channels

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