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Malaysia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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Malaysia becomes a regional leader with its nationwide broadband network

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. And the task of building an advanced telecom sector has strong relevance 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.

The generally strong growth across the country’s telecom sector inevitably brought with it a flurry of investment interest and activity. The telecommunication market in Malaysia has experienced privatisation in all facets of the industry and this has meant a general opening up of the market with a significant number of new licences being granted. While still in an expansion phase the Malaysia’s telecom sector has undergone some important restructuring. This has involved the regulator progressively introducing reforms. In the meantime, the telecom companies have been doing battle in an increasingly competitive and changing market. It is true to say that the last decade has seen healthy overall growth in Malaysia’s telecom sector. At the same time, substantial government participation in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) development has also been a particular characteristic of the Malaysian market.

The developmental effort in the telecom sector has been led by a booming mobile market with 37 million subscribers and a penetration approaching 130% coming into 2012. Although subscriber growth has slowed in recent years, a major move by the operators into mobile broadband has seen vigorous growth in the mobile market, with strengthening ARPUs.

The fixed-line market by contrast has moved along a much more subdued path with just 4 million subscribers (14% penetration) by end-2011 and annual growth running at zero or declining. There were no real signs that the fixed-line market was going to start picking up again, this despite the government still having some rather ambitious targets in place. Fixed lines nevertheless have remained an important element in the building of a national telecom infrastructure.

The adoption of broadband internet was the big news in Malaysia coming into 2012. Finally the long awaited surge in internet demand was evident, this happening after a period of slower than expected development. High speed broadband first started to take off in 2008 and by March 2012 there were around 5.8 million broadband subscribers with 64% of these wireless based.

The arrival of a range of wireless broadband services saw these technologies overwhelm a market previously dominated by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. Telekom Malaysia had been the dominant broadband service provider. This was being challenged to some extent as the market opened up and wireless broadband became more widespread.

A major boost to the country’s broadband strategy occurred when the government chose Telekom Malaysia to roll out a National Broadband Network (NBN). In what was referred to as the High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project, Telekom Malaysia (TM) was busy building a fibre-based open system. By early 2012 the roll out was on target and the TM had already signed up some major players to make use of capacity on its network. In the meantime, TM had also signed up 400,000 customers to its own HSBB-based UniFi service. Most significantly the HSBB has put Malaysia ahead of countries such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in terms of NBN rollout and especially customer connections; Malaysian has also been successful in containing costs.

Key highlights

Malaysia's population of almost 29 million people had a mobile telephone penetration of 129% by March 2012;
after a slow start following launch in 2008, 3G services were having a big impact on the mobile market by 2012;
following a period of surprisingly little interest in broadband access, Malaysia’s broadband internet penetration increased rapidly between 2009 and 2011;
broadband (fixed and mobile) in Malaysia had achieved a 17% population penetration by end-2010;
the key indicator broadband household penetration had surged to around 63% by early 2012;
most significantly, the government was able to claim one of its national development targets 50% broadband household penetration had been achieved with over 55% coming into 2011;
the strategy for building a National Broadband Network was well underway by 2011, with Telekom Malaysia (TM) moving rapidly on the roll-out of its government-sanctioned High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) project;
by July 2012, TM had signed up 400,000 subscribers to its fibre-based network;
growth in Malaysia's fixed-line services, however, has continued to ‘flat-line’ and even decline, with national fixed-line penetration stalled at around 14% in early 2012.

Malaysia: - Key telecom subscribers – 2011 - 2012
Category | 2011 | 2012 (e)

Fixed-line services: | |

Total No. of subscribers | 4.1 million | 4.0 million

Broadband: | |

Total No. of subscribers | 5.75 million | 6.50 million

Mobile services: | |

Total No. of subscribers | 36.7 million | 39.3 million (Source: BuddeComm)


1. Key Statistics
2. Country Overview
2.1 Background
2.2 Economy
3. Telecommunications Market
3.1 Overview
3.2 Tenth Malaysia Plan and ICT
3.3 Background to development
4. Regulatory Environment
4.1 Regulatory authority
4.1.1 Telecom legislation
4.1.2 Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)
4.1.3 MCMC policy
4.2 Privatisation and liberalisation
4.3 Universal Service Provision (USP)
4.4 Licences
4.5 Regulatory developments
4.5.1 Alcatel-Lucent bribery case
4.5.2 Allocation of 700MHz frequency spectrum
4.5.3 Allocation of 2.6GHz frequency spectrum
4.5.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
4.5.5 Quality of Service (QoS)
5. Major Operators
5.1 Overview
5.2 Telekom Malaysia
5.2.1 Overview
5.2.2 Corporate structure
5.2.3 Financial performance
5.2.4 Background
5.2.5 Fixed-line services
5.2.6 Broadband
5.2.7 Celcom/Telekom Malaysia merger
5.3 Axiata
5.3.1 Overview
5.3.2 Corporate structure
5.3.3 Financial performance
5.3.4 Operations
5.4 Celcom
5.4.1 Operating statistics
5.4.2 Business strategies
5.4.3 3G development
5.4.4 Network development
5.5 Maxis Communications
5.5.1 Overview
5.5.2 Financial performance
5.5.3 Background
5.5.4 Maxis/Time merger
5.5.5 IPO
5.5.6 Mobile services
5.5.7 Fixed services
5.6 Digi Communications
5.6.1 Overview
5.6.2 Operating statistics
5.6.3 Financial performance
5.6.4 Background
5.6.5 Development
5.6.6 Business strategies
5.6.7 3G - licensing and development
5.6.8 Fixed-line and other services
5.7 U Mobile
5.7.1 Overview
5.7.2 Corporate structure
5.7.3 Operational statistics
5.7.4 Service launch
5.7.5 Network development
5.8 Time dotCom
5.8.1 Overview
5.8.2 Background
5.8.3 Corporate structure
5.8.4 3G licence
5.8.5 Fixed network
5.8.6 Broadband
6. Telecommunications Infrastructure
6.1 Overview
6.2 National telecom network development
6.2.1 Fixed-line networks
6.2.2 Sharing of infrastructure
6.2.3 Fibre optic backbones
6.2.4 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
6.3 High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network
6.3.1 Telekom Malaysia’s HSBB project
6.3.2 Other HSBB proposals
6.3.3 The HSBT project
6.4 International infrastructure
6.4.1 International gateways
6.4.2 Malaysia-Thailand
6.4.3 Submarine cable networks
6.4.4 Proposed submarine cable networks
6.4.5 Satellite networks
6.5 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
7. Broadband Market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 National Broadband Plan (NBP)
7.1.2 Background to broadband development
7.1.3 Bandwidth capacity consortium
7.2 Broadband and Internet statistics
7.3 High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) network
7.3.1 Background
7.3.2 Commercial launch and operation
7.3.3 Second phase
7.3.4 Regional comparison
7.3.5 Pahang project
7.4 Development of Internet in Malaysia
7.4.1 Overview
7.4.2 Background
7.4.3 Malaysian Internet Exchange (MIX)
7.4.4 Other developments
7.4.5 Government control
7.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.6 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
7.7 Wireless broadband
7.7.1 Background development
7.7.2 WiMAX: 2.3GHz licences
7.7.3 WiMAX: other developments
7.7.4 WiMAX operators
7.8 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
7.9 Internet via satellite
8. Broadcasting Market
8.1 Broadcasting market
8.1.1 Overview
8.1.2 Regulatory environment
8.1.3 Digital TV
8.1.4 Cable TV
8.1.5 Satellite TV
8.1.6 Interactive TV (iTV)
8.1.7 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
8.2 Free-to-Air TV
8.2.1 Background
8.2.2 Free-to-Air major players
9. Mobile Communications
9.1 Overview
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Mobile infrastructure
9.4 Regulatory developments
9.4.1 International roaming
9.4.2 Service tax on prepaid services
9.5 Third Generation (3G) mobile
9.5.1 Background
9.5.2 Bidding and auction
9.5.3 Network planning and development
9.5.4 Service launch
9.5.5 Further development
9.6 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
9.7 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
9.8 Mobile voice services
9.8.1 Prepaid services
9.8.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
9.9 Mobile data services
9.9.1 Short Message Services (SMS)
9.9.2 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
9.9.3 Mobile TV/Video-on-Demand (VoD)
9.9.4 Blackberry
9.10 Mobile content and applications
9.10.1 M-commerce (micropayments)
9.10.2 Airline services
10. Forecasts
10.1 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
10.2 Forecasts – mobile services – 2015; 2020
10.3 Forecasts – broadband internet services – 2015; 2020
11. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – March 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2011
Table 4 – Broadband statistics – March 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – March 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 – Malaysia’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2013
Table 8 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2011
Table 9 – Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2011
Table 10 – Telekom Malaysia’s revenue share by product segment – 2008 - 2011
Table 11 – Telekom Malaysia’s capital expenditure – 2007 - 2011
Table 12 – Telekom Malaysia’s fixed-line subscribers – 2007 - 2011
Table 13 – TMNet’s broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2011
Table 14 – UniFi broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2012
Table 15 – TMNet broadband subscribers – business v. residential – March 2011
Table 16 – Axiata’s total mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2011
Table 17 – Celcom mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 18 – Celcom – prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2011 - 2012
Table 19 – Celcom ARPU – prepaid and postpaid – 2008 - 2012
Table 20 – Celcom’s mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2012
Table 21 – Maxis capital expenditure – 2007 - 2011
Table 22 – Maxis mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2011
Table 23 – Maxis mobile subscribers – prepaid, postpaid, – 2011
Table 24 – Maxis mobile ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, wireless and blended – 2007 - 2011
Table 25 – Maxis’ mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2011
Table 26 – DiGi mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 27 – DiGi’s ARPU – prepaid, postpaid, blended – 2008 - 2011
Table 28 – DiGi mobile subscribers – prepaid v. postpaid – 2011
Table 29 – DiGi capital expenditure – 2006 - 2011
Table 30 – DiGi service revenue – proportion of voice v. data – 2009 - 2011
Table 31 – U Mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2011
Table 32 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2012
Table 33 – Fixed-line household penetration rate – 2000 - 2012
Table 34 – NBP broadband penetration targets – 2007 - 2010
Table 35 – Total broadband subscribers and household penetration – 2009 - 2012
Table 36 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2012
Table 37 – Fixed broadband subscribers and households – March 2012
Table 38 – Broadband subscribers by access type – March 2012
Table 39 – Internet users and penetration – 1995 - 2012
Table 40 – Internet subscribers – 1995 - 2012
Table 41 – Dial-up Internet subscribers – 1995 - 2009
Table 42 – Total international internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2012
Table 43 – UniFi broadband subscribers and premises passed – 2010 - 2012
Table 44 – DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2012
Table 45 – Wireless hotspots and hotspot subscribers – 2005 – 2011
Table 46 – Packet One WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2012
Table 47 – YTL’s WiMAX subscribers – 2011 - 2012
Table 48 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2011
Table 49 – Broadcasting sector households by technology and revenue – 1997 - 2011
Table 50 – Astro DTH pay TV subscribers – 2003 - 2011
Table 51 – Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate – 1995 - 2012
Table 52 – Mobile services revenues – 1993 - 2011
Table 53 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2011
Table 54 – Mobile prepaid, postpaid and blended ARPU by operator – 2011
Table 55 – 3G mobile subscribers and market share – 2006 - 2009
Table 56 – Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2012
Table 57 – SMS volume and subscriber ratio – 2002 - 2011
Table 58 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
Table 59 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
Table 60 – Forecast broadband internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
Chart 1 - Malaysias GDP real growth rate - 2006-2013
Chart 2 - Fixed and Mobile subscribers in Malaysia: 1999 - 2010
Chart 3 - Mobile subscribers market share by operator - 2011
Chart 4 - Telekom Malaysias revenue share by product segment - 2008-2011
Chart 5 - TMNets broadband subscribers - 2003-2011
Chart 6 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2000 – 2012(e)
Chart 7 - Total broadband subscribers and household penetration - 2009-2012
Chart 8 - Internet users and penetration 2005-2012
Chart 9 - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2012 (e)
Chart 10 - Mobile services revenues - 2000-2011
Chart 11 - Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2011
Chart 12 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006-2009
Chart 13 - Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers - 2002-2012
Exhibit 1 – Telekom Malaysia at a glance - December 2011
Exhibit 2 – Telekom Malaysia’s major shareholders – March 2012
Exhibit 3 – Axiata’s major shareholders –June 2012
Exhibit 4 – Maxis at a glance - December 2011
Exhibit 5 – DiGi at a glance - December 2010
Exhibit 6 – DiGi’s major shareholders – March 2011
Exhibit 7 – International submarine cable systems with landing points in Singapore - 2011
Exhibit 8 – Overview of major Malaysian broadcasters and their channels
Exhibit 9 – Overview of programming

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