Malaysia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Publication Overview

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

  • Key Statistics
  • Markets, Industry Overviews and Analyses
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Major Telecom Operators (Mobile, Fixed, Broadband)
  • Infrastructure, including NBN strategy
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets
  • New Generation mobile platforms
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV
  • Broadband (DSL, FttX, wireless)
  • Digital Media
  • Scenario forecasts (fixed-line, fixed broadband, mobile subscribers)

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- November 2015 (21st Edition)

Executive Summary

Malaysia’s broadband household penetration passes 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 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.

Key highlights

  • Malaysia’s population of 30 million had a mobile penetration of 145% by early 2015;
  • after a slow start following launch, next generation mobile services (3G, 3G+, 4G) are having a big impact on the mobile and internet markets in Malaysia;
  • since the issue of 4G/LTE licences at the end of 2012 the operators have been working to maximise population coverage with this platform;
  • the key indicator broadband household penetration had surged to 72% by mid-2015 (note: this figure included both fixed and mobile access services);
  • the MCMC’s target of 75% household broadband penetration by 2015 appears within reach;
  • the building of a National Broadband Network is well underway, with Telekom Malaysia implementing a rapid roll-out of the government-sanctioned High-Speed Broadband (HSBB);
  • as well as building an open network, Telekom Malaysia was also signing up subscribers to its own ‘UniFi’ fibre-based service;
  • the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) undersea cable launch was pushed back to early 2016;
  • the MEASAT-3b satellite was launched in September 2014;
  • growth in Malaysia’s fixed-line services was in decline, with national fixed-line penetration having fallen to around 12%.

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.

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)
      • 3.5.9 Review of pricing of communication services
  • 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 Financials
      • 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 Financial Performance
      • 4.5.4 Business strategies
      • 4.5.5 3G development
      • 4.5.6 Network development
      • 4.5.7 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 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • 5.2.3 Sharing / leasing of infrastructure
      • 5.2.4 Microwave Links
      • 5.2.5 Fibre optic backbones
      • 5.2.6 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)
      • 5.5.1 Background
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Overview
    • 6.2 National Broadband Plan (NBP)
    • 6.3 Background to broadband development
    • 6.4 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 6.5 Forecasts – Fixed broadband internet subscribers – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • 6.5.1 Scenario forecasts
    • 6.6 High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network
      • 6.6.1 Background
      • 6.6.2 Commercial launch and operation
      • 6.6.3 Second phase
      • 6.6.4 Regional comparison
      • 6.6.5 Latest Developments
    • 6.7 Development of the internet in Malaysia
      • 6.7.1 Overview
      • 6.7.2 Background
      • 6.7.3 Malaysian Internet Exchange (MIX)
      • 6.7.4 Other developments
      • 6.7.5 Government control
      • 6.7.6 E-Government
      • 6.7.7 Tablets
      • 6.7.8 Internet of Things (IoT)
    • 6.8 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
    • 6.9 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
    • 6.10 Wireless broadband
      • 6.10.1 Background development
      • 6.10.2 WiMAX: 2.3GHz licences
      • 6.10.3 WiMAX: other developments
      • 6.10.4 WiMAX operators
  • 7. Digital media
    • 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 Forecasts – mobile services – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • 8.3.1 Scenario forecasts
    • 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 Fifth Generation (5G) Network Developments
    • 8.8 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.9 Mobile voice services
      • 8.9.1 Prepaid services
      • 8.9.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 8.10 Mobile data services
      • 8.10.1 Short Message Services (SMS)
      • 8.10.2 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.10.3 Mobile TV/Video-on-Demand (VoD)
      • 8.10.4 Smartphones and tablets
      • 8.10.5 Blackberry
    • 8.11 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.11.1 M-commerce (micropayments)
      • 8.11.2 Airline services
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2015
      • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – June 2015
      • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2014
      • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2014
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – June 2015
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
      • Table 7 – Malaysia’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 8 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – June2015
      • Table 9 -Total mobile subscribers and market share by operator – June 2015
      • Table 10 – Telekom Malaysia’s by product segment – June 2015
      • Table 11 – Telekom Malaysia’s revenue share by product segment – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 12 – Telekom Malaysia’s ARPU - by service category – 2011 - 2015
      • Table 13 – Telekom Malaysia’s capital expenditure – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 14 – Telekom Malaysia’s fixed-line subscribers – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 15 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2015
      • Table 16 – TM’s broadband subscribers – FttX v. DSL - 2013 - 2015
      • Table 17 – TM’s UniFi broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 18 – TMNet broadband subscribers – business v. residential – September 2013
      • Table 19 – Axiata’s total mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2014
      • Table 20 – Celcom mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 21 – Celcom – prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2011 - 2015
      • Table 22 – Celcom ARPU – prepaid and postpaid – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 23 – Celcom’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
      • Table 24 – Celcom’s mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 25 – Celcom’s smartphone penetration – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 26 – Maxis capital expenditure – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 27 – Maxis mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 28 – Maxis 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
      • Table 29 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid, – June 2014
      • Table 30 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid, – June 2015
      • Table 31 – Maxis mobile ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, wireless and blended – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 32 – Maxis’ smartphone penetration – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 33 – Maxis’ wireless broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2015
      • Table 34 – DiGi mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 35 – DiGi’s 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
      • Table 36 – DiGi’s mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid – June 2014
      • Table 37 – DiGi’s mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid – June 2015
      • Table 38 – DiGi’s ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, blended – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 39 – DiGi’s mobile internet subscribers – 2009 - 2015
      • Table 40 – DiGi capital expenditure – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 41 – DiGi service revenue – proportion of voice v. data – 2009 - 2014
      • Table 42 – U Mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 43 – Historical - fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2005
      • Table 44 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 45 – Fixed-line household penetration rate – 2000 - 2015
      • Table 46 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • Table 47 – Historical - NBP broadband penetration targets – 2007 - 2010
      • Table 48 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2014
      • Table 49 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2014
      • Table 50 – Total broadband subscribers and household penetration – 2009 - 2015
      • Table 51 – Broadband subscribers by access type – March 2014
      • Table 52 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 53 – Historical - Internet users – 1995 – 2004
      • Table 54 – Fixed broadband subscribers and households – 2014
      • Table 55 – Internet users and penetration – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 56 – Historical - total internet subscribers – 1995 - 2005
      • Table 57 – Total internet subscribers – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 58 – Historical - dial-up internet subscribers – 1997 - 2009
      • Table 59 – Total international internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2015
      • Table 60 – Forecast - fixed broadband internet subscribers – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • Table 61 – TM’s UniFi broadband subscribers and premises passed – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 62 – DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2014
      • Table 63 – FttX subscribers – 2001 - 2014
      • Table 64 – Wireless hotspots and hotspot subscribers – 2005 – 2014
      • Table 65 – Packet One WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2014
      • Table 66 – YTL’s WiMAX subscribers – 2011 - 2014
      • Table 67 – Key broadcasting statistics - 2014
      • Table 68 – Broadcasting sector households by technology and revenue – 1997 - 2014
      • Table 69 – Astro DTH pay TV subscribers – 2003 - 2014
      • Table 70 – Astro pay TV ARPU – 2010 - 2014
      • Table 71 – IPTV subscribers – household v. non-household - 2010 - 2014
      • Table 72 – Historical - mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate – 1995 - 2005
      • Table 73 – Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 74 – Mobile services revenues – 1993 - 2015
      • Table 75 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2017; 2020
      • Table 76 – 3G mobile subscribers and market share – 2006 – 2009; 2012 - 2013
      • Table 77 – Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 78 – SMS volume and subscriber ratio – 2002 - 2015
      • Chart 1 - Malaysia's GDP real growth rate - 2006-2016
      • Chart 2 - Mobile subscribers market share by operator - 2015
      • Chart 3 - Telekom Malaysia's revenue share by product segment – 2008; 2011-2015
      • Chart 4 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers - 2005-2015
      • Chart 5 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2006 – 2015
      • Chart 6 - Total broadband subscribers and household penetration - 2009-2015
      • Chart 7 - Internet users and penetration 2005-2015
      • Chart 8 - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2006 – 2015
      • Chart 9 - Mobile services revenues – 2005 - 2015
      • Chart 10 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006-2013
      • Chart 11 - Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers - 2004-2015
      • Exhibit 1 – Telekom Malaysia at a glance - 2015
      • Exhibit 2 – Axiata’s major shareholders – August 2013
      • Exhibit 3 – Maxis at a glance – 2015
      • Exhibit 4 – DiGi at a glance - 2015
      • Exhibit 5 – DiGi’s top 10 shareholders – November 2013
      • Exhibit 6 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in Malaysia - 2015
      • Exhibit 7 – Malaysia’s ICT rankings – 2008 - 2014
      • Exhibit 8 – Overview of major Malaysian broadcasters and their channels
      • Exhibit 9 – Overview of programming

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