5G to contribute RM12.7b to GDP by 2025

The technology is a force multiplier that could stimulate the country’s economy in a challenging global outlook

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE deployment of 5G technology in the third quarter this year (3Q20) is expected to contribute RM12.7 billion to the country’s GDP in five years between 2021 and 2025, based on estimates by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.

Citing the figure, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak (picture) described 5G as a force multiplier that could stimulate the country’s economy in a challenging global outlook. The application of the technology is also estimated to create 39,000 new jobs to the economy with about 40% of the jobs being made available in 2025.

Malaysia, which is at the forefront of 5G development in the region, has already launched a nationwide demonstration of 5G projects in six states with an investment of RM143 million. The technology is being tested in the agriculture, healthcare and oil and gas industries, among others.

Al-Ishsal said the economic prospects of 5G can be further seen in the local equities market, where listed telecoms recorded a 12.8% rise in market capitalisation between Oct 31, 2018, and Dec 31 last year, to RM134.01 billion. As at end-December last year, these companies and related businesses account for 8.4% of Bursa Malaysia’s entire market capitalisation worth RM1.71 trillion.

“Within just the last six months, countries have moved rapidly to develop 5G and provide better coverage, speed and quality broadband services. Malaysia should not wait and get left behind because we have been progressive with the last four generations,” Al-Ishsal said at a media briefing on the latest development of 5G demonstration projects in Cyberjaya yesterday.

“5G is not only to enhance speed and connectivity, but it is also an economic imperative that holistically influences the quality of life, businesses including small and medium enterprises, as well as the government,” he added.

The MCMC, in its final report for spectrum band allocation released recently, announced that the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz and 26/28 GHz bands will be used for the initial deployment of 5G. The use of the 2,300 MHz and 2,600 MHz bands will be maintained per existing allocations until December 2021.

The 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands will be assigned to a single consortium comprised of multiple licencees by 2Q20. This, MCMC said, will help minimise costs and prevent duplication of infrastructure. The remaining frequencies will be considered for assignment at a later stage.

The MCMC will host the 5G Malaysia International Conference in Langkawi from Jan 19-21, where some of the 5G demonstration projects will be showcased. About half of the 72 5G projects nationwide are located on the northern island.

This includes 5G video surveillance, smart agriculture and digital healthcare, where one project involves the transmission of realtime medical data of a patient being transported in an ambulance to the hospital. Such technology could create life-enhancing outcomes for patients.

The three-day conference will be officiated by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

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