TM 5G Showcase Langkawi: Leading the 5G Race in Malaysia

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • The 5G race in Malaysia is heating up with various initiatives announced by service providers.
  • Telekom Malaysia (TM) edges out the competition by leveraging its existing ICT portfolio, professional service capabilities, and R&D to offer end-to-end solutions.

The 5G scene in Malaysia is heating up, as the market is only a few months away from expected commercial availability. The regulator, MCMC, recently announced that 5G will be available to users by July 2020. Since the kickoff of the 5G Demonstration Project (5GDP) by MCMC in September of last year, the telcos have been making regular announcements about their progress. These include Celcom’s partnership with the police and municipal council on a smart city deployment in Langkawi, Digi’s launch of its 5G OpenLab in Cyberjaya, Maxis’ 3 Gbps in C-band 5G trial spectrum, and TM’s collaboration with players from other verticals to co-develop 5G applications in Subang and Langkawi. While MCMC has outlined 55 use cases in 32 sites across six states for the 5GDP, Langkawi has been the center of the attention, as the service providers placed most of their resources for their 5G initiatives on the island.

TM Leads the Race with End-to-End Solutions

The current initiatives are just a demonstration project running on trial 5G frequency bands, but we can already see an intense competition among the providers to prove who is the best and most innovative, as 5G will provide them an opportunity to drive their brand share in the market. While all the other providers are focusing on proving the technology (e.g., speed, latency) and still exploring industry collaboration, TM ONE edges out the competition with its end-to-end solutions as well as a total of 11 use cases to date (TM claimed to have several more coming in the near future). The secret sauce that puts TM ahead of the competition is its existing enterprise ICT capabilities. Enterprise 5G applications are often business outcome-led and require broader capabilities across the ICT stack. TM’s 5G initiative is not an individual network initiative, but collaborative efforts from various product teams and business units leveraging TM’s existing portfolio (e.g., network, IoT, platform, cloud, security) and other capabilities such as R&D and professional services. For example, it smart traffic light solution is based on its existing IoT portfolio, and the higher bandwidth of 5G is used to enable higher quality and 360-degree videos to capture new data such as human behavior, emotion, and gender. The compute and storage are hosted in TM cloud infrastructure and twin-core data facilities, offering scalability and reliability. The connectivity management platform, analytics engine, and AI capabilities are developed in-house by TM R&D. TM also supports application development to further drive innovation by providing developers access to its API library that comprises of over 500 data sets.

What’s Next

This is just the beginning of 5G in Malaysia. The ecosystem will continue to shape up as providers deploy new use cases and more enterprises join the initiatives. 5GDP is a great initiative by the regulator to offer the providers a platform to develop their solution capabilities as well as to drive market awareness. While TM has the edge today, the real competition will only begin once the spectrum and technology are available later this year. What will be important for the providers, then, are their capabilities in the enterprise segment to understand the market needs and develop solutions that not only address customers’ technical challenges, but also help them to achieve business outcomes.

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