Mobile data is nothing new in Malaysia. In fact, most of us can’t live without it. We use it to stream out music and videos, we use it to send messages and make calls and we use it to help us navigate confusing street signs. Currently, mobile internet infrastructure we have is called 4G or fourth generation mobile networking technology.  On average, telcos in Malaysia are currently only able to provide a speed of 100Mbps, with some areas recording less due to lack of 4G coverage.

What exactly is 5G?

5G basically stands for fifth-generation mobile networking technology. Theoretically speaking, the new 5G network is able to provide up to 10 times the current speed of data. That is extremely fast. If you imagine it as a video download speed, what used to take 1 minute will now take only 6 seconds.

The 5G technology isn’t just limited to phone apps though. It can be used for other real-world applications as well. Some examples include self-driving vehicles,  IoT ( internet of things) network, and drone operations. 5G will remove any issue of data transfer lags.

people using phones
Image credit: Unsplash

In addition to serious applications, 5G also spells plenty of good news for those out to have fun. You can now look forward to better virtual reality games and even holographic 3D games, where you don’t have to wear goggles. Graphics can be made even more realistic since data transfer is that much faster. This opens up an entire world of possibilities. Holograms mean that teachers don’t have to meet students to teach. It can mean that everyone can work from home and have virtual meetings while being in the same virtual space.

Sadly not everyone is buying into the hype. A majority of people don’t understand the significance of this new technology or its implications. Therefore, not many people are looking forward to it.

VR headset
Image credit: Unsplash

5G Phones Are Being Released This Year

We may not be seeing holographic communication devices ( yet), but one of the first 5G gadgets smartphones are appearing soon in Malaysia. Many smartphone companies have announced that they’re releasing 5G phones by the second half of 2019. These include:

  • The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
  • ZTE axon 10 5G
  • LG V50 ThinQ 5G
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
  • Huawei Mate 20X 5G

In April this year, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was the first person to experience a 5G call when he visited Malaysia’s 5G Exhibition in Putrajaya. The call was made at Huawei’s booth on the yet unreleased Huawei Mate 20X 5G phone.

The Malaysian 5G Exhibition

This was a landmark event in Malaysia since it showcased how various tech companies used the 5G network. Among the significant events here, in addition to Huawei demonstrating the first 5G call in Malaysia to the PM, were:

  • Maxis demonstrated that they were able to provide up to 4.5-4.8 Gbps of data, which is 40 times faster than our current average speed of 100Mbps.
  • DiGi was able to hit 1.6 Gbps with the 5G network in a similar demonstration.
  • uMobile was able to hit 1.4Gbps at their booth using 5G
  • Celcom and Ericsson showed the first holographic phone call in Malaysia with the 5G network.

The Current Challenges

The current issues we’re facing in Malaysia is probably the conversion of 5G into Wifi signals. It is now a bottleneck, due to limited broadband capabilities resulting in only a 500-700Mbps speed. Think of it like this: the data is water and broadband is the pipe. We’ve managed to increase water pressure ( a.k.a. data speed) but the pipes (broadband) are too small and narrow to channel the entire force of the water

hologram of girl
Image credit: Unsplash

We ‘ll Start Testing 5G in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh announced in March this year that we will start a trial run of the 5G network in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. This project is going to be underway by the end of 2019 and is being carried out by Huawei and Maxis, with the help of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Services (MCMC).

 

In preparation for the 5G network getting a roll-out in the coming months, you may want to start keeping a lookout for 5G phones the moment they start being available here. Shopback has prepared many promo vouchers you can use to get the best discounts and deals on your gadgets so that you’ll have a satisfying time shopping online.