Malaysia drops 5 spots on Speedtest mobile global index. Is JENDELA’s target still on track?

According to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, Malaysia’s average mobile speeds have dropped from April to May 2021. In April, Malaysia had recorded an average mobile speed of 29.58Mbps with a global rank of 81 but it declined to 27.52Mbps in May with a global rank of 86.

JENDELA targets to deliver average 35Mbps speeds by end 2022

Under the JENDELA plan, Malaysia aims to boost 4G mobile coverage to 96.9% and to increase average speeds from 25Mbps to 35Mbps by the end of 2022. During the last quarterly update, the average speed recorded was 25.44Mbps which is a mere 1.76% speed improvement from the baseline.

However, it is worth pointing out that the average mobile speeds have seen significant improvement in the past few months with as high as 29.58Mbps in April. That’s almost 50% of what JENDELA aims to achieve in terms of average speed by the end of next year.

Based on the current average, Malaysia still has a 7.48Mbps gap to cover and this has to be addressed through accelerated network upgrades and expansion. As of last quarter, the 4G populated coverage stands at 93.51% and it is increasing at a pace of 1.48% per quarter.

It is also worth pointing out that the speeds you get on speedtest do not reflect your actual speed. With the rise of affordable unlimited prepaid plans, most of these options typically come with a speed cap of 3Mbps or 6Mbps. According to Hotlink’s FAQ, your speed test result will show the actual network speed of your area without the speed cap that’s being imposed by your unlimited internet pass.

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Malaysia aims to shutdown existing 3G networks by the end of this year and this would also put pressure on telcos to not only increase their 4G footprint, but also to switch users to 4G devices with VoLTE.

Besides mobile, JENDELA also aims to increase the number of fiberised premises to 7.5 million by the end of next year. In Q1 2021, a total of 5.7 million premises are covered with fibre.

According to Speedtest, the average download speed for fixed broadband is 102Mbps. Malaysia’s has been maintaining its global rank of 45 for four consecutive months.

MCO negatively affects network performance

The dip in May appears to be correlated to the latest Movement Control Order (MCO) which started on 12th May. As announced by the Prime Minister, all schools must close except for students taking international exams. This has resulted in an increase in online learning as students have no choice but to learn from home.

As seen previously, there’s a significant impact on mobile internet performance whenever there’s a lockdown. Last year, telcos have struggled to keep up with demand and Malaysia’s mobile data consumption has increased by 35.2% which is among the highest in the region.

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Alexander Wong