Four telcos – Celcom, Digi, U Mobile and Telekom Malaysia have publicly announced the signing of their 5G access agreements with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). The access agreements will grant them access to the national 5G network and allow them to offer commercial 5G services to consumers. If you’re using an iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and the latest iPhone 14, here’s what you need to know about getting 5G connectivity in Malaysia.
DNB’s 5G network went live in December 2021 and YTL Communications’ Yes 5G is the first telco to offer 5G services to consumers in Malaysia. Despite supporting the necessary 5G bands (700MHz and 3500MHz), the iPhone can’t connect to 5G in Malaysia and some even accused DNB of not supporting the premium smartphone from Cupertino.
DNB has clarified that it doesn’t certify or approve 5G devices but they do provide facilities for manufacturers to conduct tests so that they can configure their devices and update the firmware for optimal performance. Similar to 3G and 4G devices, the certification of 5G devices is led by SIRIM with guidance from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
In case you’re wondering, SIRIM has been certifying 5G phones for years and the certification listing also includes the supported 5G bands. The first phone to be certified for 5G use in Malaysia is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G back in January 2020.
The key enabler for 5G on the iPhone is actually depended on the partnership between telcos and Apple. YTL Communications CEO Wing K Lee revealed during an interview that there’s actually a licensing deal with operators and anyone that signs up as an Apple telco partner will have the ability to sell Apple devices. However, Yes 5G has not done that deal yet, which explains why Yes doesn’t support the full Apple services for the iPhone such as eSIM, FaceTime, VoLTE and WiFi calling.
Wing added that he is looking forward to the opportunity to enable Apple devices on their Yes 5G network but basically it boils down to commercials.
If you look at Apple’s current list of telco partners, there are only four players – Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile. With Celcom, Digi and U Mobile on board with DNB, you can expect the iPhone to support 5G via their network soon but it would take some time. Celcom has confirmed on its website that the iPhone will not be supported when their 5G service goes live on 1st November.
Similar to the 4G rollout back in 2013, current iPhone users will have to wait for the carrier settings update before they can see the extra “5G” toggle under network settings. In fact, this was also mentioned in Apple’s FAQ and it’s also the same case for other 5G telcos in other countries. For now, you’ll just have to wait until the carrier settings update message pops up on the screen and hopefully, it won’t take too long.
It is worth pointing out that it is also the same situation for Samsung as the Galaxy devices were only able to connect to Yes 5G after they pushed out a software update. Unifi Mobile has started offering 5G today but not all Samsung devices are supported including the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra 5G.
- Why can’t your iPhone connect to 5G in Malaysia? YTL Comms CEO explains why
- Celcom offers free 5G access for these postpaid and prepaid plans starting 1st November
- U Mobile users can enjoy 5G services from 3rd November, here are the supported plans
- Uni5G: TM offers unlimited 5G data from RM35/month on Unifi Mobile