Malaysia’s Internet speed up 300%, price down over 40% in a year

Major broadband providers are becoming more pro-competition after the regulatory reform under MSAP

by RAHIMI YUNUS & ASILA JALIL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MALAYSIA’S average fixed-broadband speed has tripled within one year, while the service is now 40% cheaper following the implementation of the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), based on a World Bank’s study.

World Bank lead economist for Malaysia Dr Richard Record (picture) said a study by the international financial institution found that broadband prices in Malaysia have fallen by 44% in a year as major providers are becoming more pro-competition after the regulatory reform took place under the MSAP.

Record said the MSAP allows more companies to access the country’s readily available infrastructure and join the broadband competition.

The MSAP, which was implemented in June 2018, regulates the prices and terms for alternative Internet service providers to access wholesale broadband capacity provided by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM).

“It would be great if we could eventually see multiple companies accessing the infrastructure to have a retail market offering as well. It is a great start to have more competition and we will get a better market outcome,” Record told The Malaysian Reserve at the LSE Recode Tech Conference 2019, organised by the London School of Economics alumni in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

According to a World Bank report entitled, “Malaysia Economic Monitor 2019”, published in June, the average price of broadband plans for speeds over one Gbps fell by over 40% over the past year, from RM399 to RM224.

The report stated that by March this year, Malaysia’s average fixed-broadband speed has accelerated by more than 300% in just over a year, from 22.2 Mbps to 67.2 Mbps for the fixed Internet.

Record said it is a positive development to have a utility company, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), to enter the broadband market.

“It is just getting started. It is exciting because TNB has started laying fibre cables across all their power cables to monitor their system, but the reality is, it is a huge resource for the country and the economy.”

“Previously, it was exclusively available only for TM. Now, TNB has started off its pilot project in Jasin, Melaka, to offer retail broadband and is growing very rapidly,” he said.

The MSAP will support Malaysia’s digital economy drive although Record said the country is facing some challenges in skills supply and public confidence in financial technology.

He said Malaysia’s private sector could have adopted digital technology at a faster rate than today, given how connected the country is as supported by the infrastructure.