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The race for LTE dominance in Malaysia is still in its infancy as operators scramble to deliver consistent quality of service nationwide.
Statista data points to smartphone penetration in Malaysia of 62.8% in 2017 with a forecast of 68.46% by 2022. Adoption is fueled by nationwide mobile connectivity with usage in areas such as mobile shopping, social media and general internet surfing according to market research firm GfK.
“Shopping apps, especially, are also gaining popularity, paving the path for mobile payments. More consumers today are contributing to the growth of mobile commerce (m-commerce) in Malaysia, making payments through their mobile devices for retail items, airline tickets, and services such as Grab and Uber,” observed Stanley Kee, Managing Director for Southeast Asia, GfK.
According to the EY report “Decoding the Malaysian digital DNA: from smart to savvy” 78% of surveyed Malaysians use of the technology has improved their communication with friends and family, albeit at the expense of sleep (25%).
As more consumers turn to their smartphones to research new products or services (83%) or make purchases online rather than in person (38%), experience and speed will trump convenience as a metric for selecting the best service provider. That said, price remains an important factor in Malaysian buying psyche.
With more operators defaulting to LTE or 4G as the solution to consumer’s appetite for connectivity, OpenSignal published a comparative study of the performance of the mobile operators in the country.
Four years since Maxis launched the first LTE service in Klang Valley (January 2013), five operators now claim to offer 4G service although OpenSignal reported only two operators as having LTE availability scores higher than 75%. 4G services aren’t yet ubiquitous, but they’re getting there.