This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Malaysia. Subjects covered include:
Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- January 2014 (19th Edition)
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
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