C&M industry performance report finds that Malaysia is on track towards “Connect 2030”

  • Total market capitalisation value for Communication & Multimedia industry at US$33.09bil
  • Connectivity noted as driver for service provider revenue growth over last two decades

C&M industry performance report finds that Malaysia is on track towards “Connect 2030”

As it has been since 1969, 17 May marked World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), an annual celebration with the aim of increasing awareness among the general public regarding the possibilities that could be achieved through the internet and ICT technology.

This year’s WTISD theme is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” which focuses on ICT-enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Malaysian’s wondering how the country is doing in its journey towards achieving the SDGs will find the upcoming annual Communications and Multimedia (C&M) industry performance report that will be released in June, to be a useful barometer. In the meantime, highlights of the 2019 report has just been released in a press statement by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which gave the industry a “commendable” achievement.

[Paragraph edited for accuracy.]

Chockful of data points, the total market capitalisation value of the Malaysian C&M industry reached US$33.09 billion (RM144.09 billion), or 8.4% of the total Bursa Malaysia market capitalisation. This represents an increase of US$1.44 billion (RM6.28 billion) or 4.56% as compared to the US$31.7 billion (RM137.73 billion) in 2018.

From that amount, the telecommunications sector contributed about RM134.01 billion, while RM7.29 billion came from the broadcasting sector; and RM2.71 billion from the postal and courier sector.

[RM1 = US$0.23]

The C&M industry generated a revenue of RM43.37 billion in 2019, where the communications sector contributed the biggest share at 80.2%, or RM34.8 billion. The broadcasting sector was the second highest contributor at 13.6% (equal to RM5.88 billion), while the revenue generated by the postal and courier sector is RM2.69 billion, or 6.2%.

Capex (capital expenditure) for the telecommunications sector in 2019 was RM4.6 billion. From that amount, RM2.97 billion was used for mobile services while RM1.63 billion was for fixed services.

The report states that most of the capex was used to upgrade the mobile and fibre optic networks to increase network capacity and quality to enable the telecommunications sector.

A three year snapshot of Malaysia's mobile broadband growth. The latest data with 2019 data will be updated soon as it is made available.

Connectivity as the driver

The report also notes that connectivity is the driver for service provider revenue growth over the last two decades. In 2019, the total broadband subscription in the country was at 43.38 million.

From that, 2.95 million was for fixed broadband subscription, an increase of 10.9% compared to 2.66 million in 2018. Meanwhile, mobile broadband subscription increased 9.9% to 40.43 million compared to 36.79 million in 2018. For coverage in populated areas, 3G coverage was at 95.5% in 2019 compared to 94.7% in 2018. On the other hand, 4G LTE coverage was at 82.2% in 2019 as compared to 79.7% in 2018.

An increasing trend can also be seen in the number of mobile cellular subscriptions. In 2019, the total number of mobile cellular subscriptions was at 44.6 million, an increase of 5.2% compared to 42.41 million in 2018.

According to the report, the increase was driven by various factors such as quality coverage expansion, increased capability, better service quality and increase in data and smartphone usage.

High usage of broadband was reported throughout the movement control order (MCO) period that began on 18 March 2020. To revive economic activity hit by the pandemic, the government announced the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) on 27 March, which included free 1GB of mobile internet per day as part of its offerings.

Ongoing still, of course, is the critical five-year National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP). Kickstarted in 2019, the plan aims to upgrade the country’s digital connectivity, especially in rural areas, in a bid to bridge the digital divide.

With the implementation of 5G in this country, the level of connectivity is expected to change, and it is expected to serve as an important game changer to the nation’s economy.

“The main purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to help raise awareness on the positive power of the Internet and other communication technologies, such as uniting societies, strengthening economies and bridging the digital divide,” says MCMC chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak.

“Thus, as regulator of the multimedia and communications industry - through initiatives such as NFCP and 5G - we are determined to ensure that societies in Malaysia continue to remain connected and are able to reap the benefits of high-quality connectivity.”

He further expressed that as the world confronts the Covid-19 pandemic, we shouldn’t forget that technology and telecommunications have been the foundation on which economies and lives continue to move forward.

“Thus, let us take a moment to appreciate all the leaps the industry has achieved, and attempt to continue pushing boundaries to transform lives and make the future a better place,” he concludes.


Related stories:

Malaysian telcos, MCMC pledge to improve consumer experience

MCMC clarifies allegations on National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan

MCMC hails no-one-left-behind economic stimulus package

Eye on the ball, MCMC swings for the fences with 5G

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