How is JENDELA doing with improving 4G and the 3G retirement in Malaysia?
One of the major shockers announced by our ex-PM with the Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) initiative was that 3G networks will gradually be phased out in favor of 4G networks. Wider 4G network coverage was part of the plan, along with increased speeds. So after a year, what has it achieved? Opensignal has some pretty interesting data on that.
4G availability is at 88.8%, with 3G availability down by 3.6 percentage points
According to 3 months worth of data from August 2020 and August 2021, Opensignal noted a 2.8 percentage points improvement in 4G availability, while 3G availability went down by 3.6 percentage points, across Malaysia. All regions in Malaysia are now seeing over 80% 4G availability, with some even seeing above 90%, like the Klang Valley, Penang, Labuan and also Melaka.
However users in certain regions are still heavily reliant on 3G for connectivity, which doesn’t bode well when it comes to shutting down 3G networks. One positive note is that sparsely populated regions are seeing a much bigger improvement in 4G availability, with Terengganu charting 6.4 percentage points and Pahang increasing by 5.6 percentage points. Sabah and Sarawak saw smaller improvements, of 2.2 percentage points and 2.8 percentage points, respectively.
4G networks are now 8.7% more widely accessible
Opensignal also went into the data of the expansion of the 4G networks by the telcos. As you would expect, the biggest changes are in the less-developed regions like Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, as well as Sarawak and Sabah. The latter duo charts the biggest improvements in the nation, with 12.5% and 15.4% higher 4G coverage, respectively.
Hopefully by the end of the year, we will be able to achieve the JENDELA target of 96.9% 4G mobile broadband coverage in populated areas. We definitely can’t be stuck using 3G in 2021. I sure hope the 5G rollout will also be quick, so that more Malaysians can enjoy the faster speeds soon.
Pokdepinion: Well, at least we are getting somewhere.