The JENDELA initiative which was announced in August 2020 by former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was aimed at improving 4G connectivity and increasing access to fibre broadband. According to the latest JENDELA report presented by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Malaysia has exceeded its target of achieving 35Mbps average mobile speeds at the end of last year, which is a year ahead of schedule.
When JENDELA was introduced, it has several key targets to achieve by the end of 2022 which include improving average mobile speeds from 25Mbps to 35Mbps, and increasing 4G coverage from 91.8% to 96.9%. When it comes to fibre access, JENDELA also aims at increasing fibre passed premises from 5 million to 7.5 million. As of 31st December 2021, there are a total of 6.848 million premises passed with fibre, and the progress appears to be on track to hit the target.
JENDELA records 37.30Mbps but why Ookla records 26.91Mbps?
Based on the latest report, Malaysia’s average mobile speed has increased to 37.30Mbps and MCMC states that it is based on data from Ookla Global Speed Test Index. However, if you refer to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, Malaysia has an average speed of 26.91Mbps in January 2022 with a global rank of 65. If you’re wondering why there’s a discrepancy, Ookla has recently revised its global index data from mean to median. MCMC says it will continue to use mean in order to keep its reports consistent.
Median vs Mean
According to Ookla, they made the shift to median calculation as it captures the typical user’s experience as median is less likely to be influenced by outliers than mean. When using mean, a few users in selected areas that can achieve 100-200Mbps speeds can greatly affect the average calculation which could give a false impression that everyone’s internet experience is improving. You can see how greatly median and mean calculation differs in the example above.
Ookla also added that the switch to median allows countries where a greater share of people have high-speed internet to rank higher on the index, rather than rewarding countries where only a few areas have really high speeds and everyone else is left waiting.
Opensignal records 13.5Mbps for Malaysia
Meanwhile, Opensignal, which also tracks mobile experience worldwide has reported an even lower speed of 13.5Mbps for Malaysia for Q4 2021. Based on their data, Malaysia’s download speeds only improved by 2Mbps between Q1 2019 and Q4 2021, while other ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) which were previously performing worse than Malaysia, had doubled their download speeds after they launched 5G with significant coverage.
1.5% 4G coverage remaining for 2022
In terms of coverage, 4G now covers 95.4% of the population which is very close to its 96.9% target. Although there’s just 1.5% coverage remaining, the MCMC shared that the last few percentages are the toughest to complete.
In addition to 4G, JENDELA has also initiated the rollout of satellite broadband in rural areas which will take a long time to deploy mobile services. Previously, the MCMC had targeted to deploy 839 satellite-based broadband wireless access at 839 locations by October 2021 but only 52.1% have been completed by 31st December 2021. The report states that some of the delays are caused by floods and 585 locations (69.7%) have been completed as of 31st January 2022.
In case you missed it, Malaysia’s 3G shutdown is now scheduled to be completed by 31st March 2022 as it was delayed due to the recent floods. 80% of 3G carriers have shut down while 79% of 3G customers have migrated. According to the MCMC, the remaining 440,852 customers have been reminded about the shutdown and they responded that they will migrate to a 4G phone once 3G is fully shut down.