This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications and digital media markets in Malaysia. Subjects covered include:
Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- November 2015 (21st Edition)
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 have seen clear evidence of a shrinking fixed subscriber base. Penetration has dropped from around 17% in 2010 to 12% in 2015. 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.
In the meantime, with a mobile penetration of 145%, the mobile operators were locked in close combat: Celcom, with 12.3 million subscribers had the largest market share of the mobile market (31.3%) by mid-2015, very closely followed by Maxis with 31%. Digi followed in third place with 30% market share. Although total subscriber growth has slowed considerably in the mobile market, the move by the operators into next generation platforms and mobile broadband has seen vigorous activity in the market, with strengthening ARPUs. The momentum surrounding mobile broadband was continuing with the roll-out of 4G/LTE licences.
At the same time, the broadband internet sector has been boosted by the advent of mobile broadband. With an effective combination of fixed and mobile broadband, household broadband penetration in Malaysia had reached 72% by mid-2015, according to the MCMC. The long awaited surge in internet demand had arrived, this happening after a period of slower than expected development. Fibre-based broadband services are expanding rapidly and started to impact the market; at the same time DSL subscriber numbers were flat or in decline.
The country’s broadband strategy was given a major boost when the government chose Telekom Malaysia (TM) to roll out a National Broadband Network (NBN). In what was referred to as the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project, TM has been busy building a fibre-based open system. Coming into 2015, the operator registered 1.5 million premises passed by its HSBB network, this being out of 6.2 million premises in the country. As part of its 2014 budget announcement, the government had committed a further US$1 billion for the second phase of the HSBB project.
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, at the same time climbing the global rankings.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telekom Malaysia; Celcom; Maxis Communications; Time dotCom; Axiata; U Mobile; U Telecom; DiGi; TM Touch; TM Cellular; TRI Celcom; Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB); TMNet; MyRepublic; Green Packet/Packet One Networks (P1); REDtone; Asiaspace; YTL.
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Number of pages 115
Last updated 11 Nov 2015
Analyst: Peter Evans
Paul, Many thanks for your inputs yesterday. You provided a compelling different perspective to our traditional infrastructure focus and this is valuable for our future planning. I also had very favourable feedback from our participants on your involvement.
Stephen Negus, Aurecon
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