• TM announced its 5G collaboration with eight players from different industries: government, hospitality, and retail.
• Apart from mixed reality and video, TM should also develop applications that leverage other 5G benefits (e.g., URLLC, network slicing, and edge-compute).
TM is making a major milestone in its 5G journey with its collaboration with the Majlis Perbandaran Langkawi Bandaraya Pelancongan (the city council) and Langkawi Development Authority, Jabatan Laut Malaysia (Malaysia Marine Department) as well as several other hospitality and retail players including Haji Ismail Group, Nadias Hotel, Hotel Ayda Chenang, The Loaf Asia, and Artisans Pizza. The collaborations focus on smart city and smart tourism use cases such as smart traffic light, smart parking, smart safety and security, smart retail analytics, and smart vehicle management solutions. These applications are running on the carrier’s trial standalone (SA) 5G network on 700MHz (the first SA 5G network in the country).
Langkawi is one of the key locations of the regulator’s 5G Demonstration Project (5GDP). The 480km2 island located in the north of Malaysia has 3 million visitors annually. The unique profile of the island (compared to the other 5G trial locations that are mainly business areas) offers a platform for TM to gain a new data set from the users and enhance its solutions for wider use cases, e.g., diverse nationalities to enhance facial recognition capabilities. As a high-profile tourism location, TM could also use Langkawi as a reference for its solution in other markets. However, TM is not the only provider running the trial on the island. Others such as Maxis, Celcom, and Digi also have similar initiatives although they are slightly behind the incumbent. While TM currently has the edge in the competition with the most number of use cases and as the only provider running a SA 5G network on 700MHz, it needs to continue expanding its collaboration and adding more use cases to retain its 5G lead.
Today, TM 5G trials focus on use cases such as mixed reality (AR/VR) for tourism and high quality / 360 real-time video streaming for smart traffic light, parking, retail analytics, and safety and security. While these applications require a total bandwidth that can only be offered by 5G, TM should also consider other use cases or mission-critical applications that leverage the other technical benefits. For example, V2X, drones or autonomous vehicles that require 5G ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC). TM could also include use cases that demonstrate the benefits of network slicing and Multi-access Edge Computing features in its 5G trial. Apart from 5G applications, the technology could also be used to enhance TM’s other ICT services such as 5G as an underlying technology for SD-WAN or mobile branch.
There is an increasing number of collaboration from players across different verticals for 5G trials. While the opportunity looks promising today, it could be more challenging when the services are offered commercially. IoT and 5G applications are often business-outcome-led and require strong vertical capabilities and professional services. This trial window should be used not just to demonstrate the technology but also for the service providers to explore commercial opportunities with the partners by co-developing business cases and co-creating solutions to address the business challenges tailored for customers’ needs. It is also important for the service providers to drive the market awareness and their brand share in 5G through wider campaigns, collaboration, and innovation labs.